Multibillion Conradie 
site set to 
house 11 000

This artist's impression shows the scale and potential look of the development from Forest Drive.

This artist's impression shows the scale and potential look of the development from Forest Drive.

Published Sep 17, 2016


EVERYONE from domestic workers to professionals will be accommodated in the multibillion-rand 3 525-unit mega development at the old Conradie Hospital site, abutting Pinelands and Thornton.

The pioneering project is to accommodate about 11 000 residents and authorities hope it will set a precedent for future developments in neighbouring suburbs such as Mowbray.

The development includes four precincts of housing, shops and offices, at least two “affordable” private schools, an early childhood development centre and a community hall.

The average height of buildings will be six storeys, with some going to eight storeys.

The density will be 164 units per hectare, compared to the metropolitan average of 22.7 families, or the 8 units per hectare in Pinelands.

Work will begin on the 22ha site in April 2018, and the first residents will move into their new apartments in 2020.

The completion date is 2024, with a contribution to the local economy estimated at more than R3 billion annually, and up to 4 300 jobs a year.

A decade ago, an earlier scheme fell through when the developer was unable to meet contractual obligations.

This time round, the province and city will be paying for bulk infrastructure to guarantee a sustainable outcome.

The mega-development will be incorporated in an integrated landscaped setting with a green belt following the course of the Elsieskraal River, which traverses the site.

Each of the four precincts will face on to its own “urban and park space”.

Just over half the apartments in the scheme – 2 084 – will be aimed at four income categories ranging from less than R3 000 to R21 000 a month.

The development, a provincial/city “game changer” project, has been conceived as a pioneering intervention to guide future large-scale integrated housing developments across the metropole and in the inner-city.

The objectives of the Conradie Better Living Model Exemplar Project and future similar schemes are breaking the mould of apartheid spatial planning, stepping up urban density and promoting social integration.

“It’s very much a prototype which will gain traction in other parts of the city,” Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant said in a joint interview this week with Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.

Grant said: “We want a development that will find traction with the community so we can use this as a template in other areas.”

The Conradie project would be significant in shaping planning of the Two Rivers Urban Park scheme along the Liesbeeck River, between Pinelands and Mowbray, which could potentially accommodate 25 000 housing units in a similar mixed-use model.

The Conradie site was an opportunity “to test the water, and see how things work”.

“We have a city divided by the spatial heritage of apartheid and this gives us an opportunity to bridge that divide,” Grant said.

An extensive informal public participation process over the past few months would conclude with a formal process at the end of next month, after which specifications would be finalised and bids called for.

Grant said several bidders had already shown an interest and were eligible to submit a “request for qualifications” by the end of this month. Once evaluated, a shortlist of preferred bidders would be become eligible to submit a “request for proposals”.

The target was to complete the three-phase project in five to seven years. “We have done a very detailed delivery schedule for the attainment of this,” he said.

Both Grant and Madikizela underscored the importance of the commitment to social housing in the scheme.

In all, 49 percent of the apartments will fall in the affordable housing category. This includes 1 264 units for people earning between R3 000 and R7 500, 361 Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme beneficiaries earning between R3 500 and R15 000, and 100 rent-to-buy units for people earning less than R3 500.

The remaining 51 percent would be offered on the open market in three categories, in a R500 000 to R1 million price range. These were 359 40mm² units for people earning over R15 000, 1 260 58m² units for people earning over R21 000, and 181 80m² units for people earning above R30 000.

Madikizela said: “We are aware of the risks (of the

social housing element being diluted to enable the developer to maximise open-market

sales to cover unexpected contingency costs) and we have put measures in place to mitigate them.

“We have paid close attention to this risk and it is something that will not happen.”

Grant said negotiations with commuter-rail provider Prasa had secured a commitment to upgrade the nearby Thornton and Old Mutual stations to support the new development.

A future BRT lane was also in the mix.

The density of the project was critical for public transport viability.

There would be about 5.3ha of open space.

Preserved heritage elements would include the old Hall, also known as the Chapel, the old nurses’ administration building and the porter’s lodge with entrance gateways on Forest Drive extension.

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