Developers reassure investors

2009-07-27 00:00

DEVELOPERS involved in the major Rivers End residential development in Pietermaritzburg have assured investors and residents that work will resume on site in a matter of days following the news that the key contractor involved in the first two phases was recently placed under liquidation.

The development, which consists of 130 units at present, will be valued at about R300 million upon completion of a total of 460 units.

Ian Wadeson of Benchmark Holdings, which owns 50% of the development, and Yusuf Ismail and Graham Rodger, directors of Benchmark Holdings, confirmed the key contractor was placed under liquidation.

They told The Witness they have taken over the reins in order to ensure completion of the remaining work on site, which constitutes only two percent of the first two phases.

Attempts to contact the managing director of the contracting company were unsuccessful.

The developers said that although they would like to take on the existing sub-contractors, a final decision has not yet been made.

“The developers are as committed to Rivers End as they were on day one,” said Ismail.

“Our first responsibility is to our purchasers. We want to stress that the builder has been liquidated, not the developer,” said Wadeson.

The directors said their track-record as developers dates back seven years and includes the development of 1 500 units at various projects.

They plan to start work on a stand-alone retirement development within the wider Rivers End precinct, which includes additional recreational facilities.

This phase could consist of 60 to 200 units, depending on the demand for retirement units.

Wadeson, Ismail and Rodger said the site was identified about three years ago and that it was re-zoned from “agricultural to residential” shortly thereafter.

They said the development is aimed at the burgeoning civil servant market now that Pietermaritzburg is sole provincial capital.

The development has proved popular with the buy-to-let market, with average monthly rents reaching about R3 500 on a R500 000 unit.

Units range from about R500 000 to R850 000.

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