Multi-billion rand Richmond Park property development launched

Atterbury Property recently launched Richmond Park – a new multi-billion rand mixed-use property development in Cape Town on a prime greenfields site in Milnerton next to the N7 – in its biggest and most ambitious project yet in the Western Cape.

An aerial view of the prime 84ha greenfields site where Atterbury will be developing Richmond Park – a new mixed-use property development, its biggest and most ambitious project yet in the Western Cape.

Richmond Park will be developed on 84ha of land as a landmark business park and mixed-use precinct consisting of retail, light industrial, commercial and warehousing property development. The property has bulk development rights of around 300 000 m² over the next five to10 years.

“This development will be along the lines of the Atterbury-initiated Waterfall development in Gauteng, but will focus more on commercial and warehousing due to its location in Cape Town’s industrial hub,” says Gerrit van den Berg, Atterbury’s development manager for its Western Cape developments.

“The initial 300 000 m² development phase of Richmond Park is expected to attract investment of up to R5 billion. This will make it one of the biggest new commercial developments in Cape Town and Atterbury’s biggest development yet in the Western Cape.

“Although Atterbury is the major shareholder, we are undertaking this development in Cape Town in association with local partners Bethel Property and Qubic 3 Dimensional Property. This is a groundbreaking project, from a magnitude and concept perspective, and from a socio economic and community upliftment perspective. The land on which Richmond Park will be developed is part of a landmark land restitution settlement,” says van den Berg.

A claim was approved to have ownership of the land restored to its original owners in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, and the land was officially transferred back to the Richmond Park Communal Property Association in December 2014.

Richard Glass of Bethel Property, says: “About 400 families were forcibly removed from this land in 1972 and resettled in Atlantis and the Cape Flats. These families today represent around 5 300 people spanning five generations. They finally had the land transferred back to them in December 2014 in the form of a community trust (the Richmond Park Communal Property Association), which has now leased this prime commercial land to the developers and is also a 25 percent shareholder in the development company.”

Van den Berg says this project has huge significance as a major new commercial development in Cape Town and from a socio economic and community upliftment perspective, with the affected families benefiting through the community trust.

“The significance of this project has been recognised by all three levels of government, from the city and province, through to the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. We appreciate their support and assistance, which has been instrumental in getting us to this point to officially launch Richmond Park. Besides being a catalyst project that will attract investment, this development will create jobs and skills development opportunities for local people.”

Glass says that during construction alone, about 15 000 jobs are expected to be created over Richmond Park’s development period. This excludes the permanent jobs created by the commercial property tenants that will take up space and open up business operations in the park.

“What’s also crucial is creating employment and skills development opportunities for the Richmond claimants. Currently, some 50 percent of the claimants are unemployed and survive off state welfare grants. We want to change this situation and see this as a socially conscious project and a catalyst for positive change.”

With the commercial launch of Richmond Park, the installation of bulk services to the site is set to commence this year. Following the first bulk earthworks, construction of the initial top structures is planned for mid-2016, and the first buildings in the park are scheduled to be completed by the last quarter of 2016.

Van den Berg says there has been strong commercial interest in the development even before the launch, probably as a result of the park’s strategic location in Milnerton, with great visibility and access to the N7 and other key arterial routes.

“As part of the project, the developers will be investing around R150 million for surrounding road infrastructure upgrades and access to the development. Within the Richmond Park precinct, investors and tenants can look forward to wide landscaped boulevards among other features that will set it apart from other business parks in the region. The precinct is also being designed to interface well with the surrounding properties and neighbourhood,” he says.

Glass says that land-use rights are all in place for the development following an exhaustive seven year process.

“There is strong demand and a high level of interest coming from businesses wanting to move into the park as well as companies wanting to establish new operations or expand with premises in this key location,” says Glass.

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