Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cape to use prime property for housing

Cape Town - Prime state land in the Cape Town’s city centre is to be cleared for mixed-income housing, in an initiative that could change the face of the city.

Among 65 parcels of land identified for the initiative is land on Hope, Buitenkant and Roeland streets currently housing government garages.

Speaking at a press conference before delivering his budget speech on Monday, Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle said the Western Cape government was to dispose of all unused state-owned property, including abandoned schools, to make way for mixed-income housing.

The properties earmarked for the regeneration project include vacant and developed land.

The government garages would be moved to Maitland, where the province had recently bought land.

It was now “ministerial policy” to dispose of all properties not required by the administration.

“Such disposals would be aimed at mixed-income housing proposals, and will include excess land at certain schools,” Carlisle said.

The first “regeneration income” of about R2.2 million, which came from the lease of a Sea Point school, marked an important milestone in the profitable management of the province’s property assets, Carlisle said.

The multibillion-rand regeneration project was first announced in 2011, and at the time Carlisle said the province’s property portfolio in the city would provide its initial financial leverage.

“Our aim is to use public sector assets to unleash investment by the private sector. This initiative will, by 2014, regenerate the Cape Town CBD as the catalyst to propel Cape Town forward as a great global city.”

On Monday, Carlisle said the intention was to “build a strong positive net cash inflow into the asset financing reserve by the sale or lease of provincial properties”.

“We are also pumping a lot of money into new schools,” he said. “From now to 2016, about 70 new schools will be built.”

Major developments are also planned for the Artscape/Founders Garden precinct and the CTICC.

Carlisle’s department has been allocated R4.6 billion for the 2013/14 financial year, of which R1.7bn will be spent on road construction and maintenance projects.

Carlisle said the provincial government had also taken back the Conradie hospital site near Thornton due to non-payment.

The property was sold under the previous ANC administration.

Carlisle said that, despite the residual court challenge, the Chapman’s Peak toll plaza was likely to be completed by June.

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