Thursday, 08 June 2023 – While many construction projects backed by TUHF entail funding a development entrepreneur for a small to medium construction project, that is not always the case. The partnership between TUHF and Concor Construction for funding two and possibly more developments in the Conradie Park precinct in the Western Cape is a fine example of this.
Together the companies are bringing to life two developments in the broader Conradie Park precinct, billed as one of the Western Cape Government’s seven game changer projects, and part of the Provincial Strategy to redress spatial apartheid planning.
Mark Schonrock, the Development Executive at Concor Construction, explains that the company has an extensive record of developing large scale developments in South Africa, and had its eye on constructing a mega-development in the Western Cape for quite some time. When the vacant land parcel, which the Province had been looking to unlock for about a decade, came on the market five years ago, Concor threw its hat in the ring and successfully secured the winning bid.
The result today is the establishment of Conradie Park, a residentially led mixed use development, encompassing social housing, FLISP housing, open market residential apartments, commercial and retail developments and even a creche that currently caters to 65 children plus two affordable private schools.
Schonrock explains that TUHF is currently providing development finance supporting the establishment of two of these residential blocks – Kings Blockhouse and Silvermine – which are both four story apartment blocks for sale to the open market, with 149 apartments and 80 apartments respectively.
When complete in November 2023, Kings Blockhouse will offer 55 bachelor units (29 square metres), 57 one-bedrooms (42 square metres) and 37 two- bedrooms (55 square metres). The smaller of the two developments, Silvermine, which is due for completion in August 2023, will boast 31 studio apartments, 45 one- bedrooms and 4 two-bedrooms, ranging in size from 29 square metres and 41 square metres to 53 square metres respectively.
Together, the buildings will deliver 229 new residential units to families and young professionals in the Conradie Park precinct, with apartments in both blocks being close to 100% sold at present. As will be the case throughout the precinct, there will be fibre Wi-Fi available throughout, and residents will be able to avail themselves of a laundry, school, a 22 000 square metre park where visitors and residents will be able to run or walk their dogs, and ample other services such as a hair salon and convenience shopping centre.
In terms of sustainability, all units have low-flow taps and double flush toilets, while lighting is catered for through energy efficient LED technology. In the likely event of power outages, there are generators to power the larger blocks and UPS’s for the smaller ones. However, a solar panel solution will be implemented into the buildings further into the Conradie Park development through Concor Construction’s renewable energies division.
Schonrock stresses that as Conradie Park is envisioned as being a multi-functional precinct, open to all, the already completed blocks as well as Kings Blockhouse and Silvermine, and future developments, are not going to be run in the same fashion as exclusive gated communities, which the City of Cape Town is moving away from. Rather, security is achieved through passive monitoring, using license plate recognition cameras, and security guards at the precincts’ three access points.
“We kept strategic ground floor locations for specific retail offerings, so at night when residents are in their units, those ground-floor retailers will bring in street activity, which builds in a sense of security as well,” he adds.
With a development of this magnitude, the challenges are equally as broad. In particular, unlocking the potential of Conradie Park, and of any building projects done within the precinct, required a significant capital outlay to address traffic access, water supply, sewer and bulk electrical reticulation.
“Before we started on the site, we did a massive bulk infrastructure upgrade to all the surrounding roads. We built new pedestrian bridges and upgraded all the traffic intersections in the area to prepare for the future residential, commercial and retail elements. That was always a concern of the surrounding communities,” he explains.
Given that when complete, Conradie Park is slated to accommodate around 3 500 permanent residents, traffic from their home to the CBD, work and Cape Town surrounds has been a careful consideration as part of the development rezoning process.
However, Schonrock stresses that should not be a problem, as Mutual Station is just 400 meters away and caters to both the northern and the central line. There is also easy access to taxis that leave from the station, along with Golden Arrow busses. Furthermore, Concor Construction is currently in discussions with MyCiti to bring one of its feeder routes closer to the development as soon as possible.
One of the most noteworthy features of the new developments is not wholly quantifiable but it is no less valuable. Due to the collaboration between TUHF, Concor Construction, Western Cape Provincial government, and National Government at large, a budding community is already beginning to emerge, on where once stood just an under-utilised, vacant tract of land.
“It is truly remarkable for TUHF to be involved with a project of this nature in a year where we are celebrating 20 years of seeing potential where others don’t. The Conradie Park precinct development is a typical example of yet another successful public-private partnership that demonstrates how the private sector can collaborate with developers and Government in redeveloping large tracts of land, thereby increasing revenues for the fiscus, and stimulate local economic development. The precinct is testament to how affordable housing has evolved, and we are proud to be collaborating with Concor on this exciting journey,” says Velda Derrocks, Regional Manager for the Cape Region.