Cape Town – A plan to build a five-star hotel on the Foreshore has raised the ire of housing activists.
Social housing giant Communicare’s former offices in Roggebaai Square on the Foreshore have been sold to Sapphyr Properties for R120million.
The City has confirmed it had received an application for the development. Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said: “The application process will continue and a decision will be made once the applicant has responded to the one objection received.”
The group plans to demolish the existing building and erect a mixed-use development.
In a motivation report submitted to council, the developer said the proposed hotel and apartment development provided an “excellent” opportunity for a well-located development in the Foreshore and CBD areas.
Communicare spokesperson Megan Lennert said the social housing organisation was developing 456 new rental apartments with the money it received from the sale of the property.
“Construction began in November 2019 at Bothasig Gardens, a social housing complex. Communicare invested R164m for 318 new units and a community hall. The first 96 apartments will be ready for occupation by tenants in March 2021.
“All 318 units will be rented to households with incomes between R1500 and R15000 a month, with rentals ranging from R550 up to R5000 a month. This phase of the Bothasig Gardens development is regulated social housing. The government is contributing R88m towards the building costs,” Lennert said.
Communicare was also developing 138 new apartments at a cost of R125m, and a community hall to expand the Musgrave Park complex in Diep River. The apartments would be completed by the end of 2020.
Ndifuna Ukwazi has filed an objection to the Foreshore application, stating the proposed development must contain a “fair and feasible” number of affordable units.
Ndifuna Ukwazi attorney Jonty Cogger said: “Exclusive developments, like the one proposed, have a significant long-term impact on spatial segregation in Cape Town. The irony is that the building once housed the offices of social housing company Communicare.
“This paints a very grim picture of land markets in well-located areas in Cape Town, which persistently serve profit-driven motives at the expense of the public.
“In the absence of efforts to actively reverse ingrained segregation in Cape Town, this self-interested, profit-driven pattern will continue to exclude many lower-income city dwellers from well-located land.”