Some fifteen years ago, the sleepy suburb of Rhodesfield, was awakened to the news that this was to be rezoned as 'thee' development hub of the future. Residential properties were cordoned off for hotels, office blocks and shopping centres.
Developers swooped in offering substantially more than the market value, around R500 000 per property and the owners rumbled on to all who would listen.
"I'm demanding at least R3 mill. They can take it or leave it. - No ways, boet, R5 mill is my final offer. Think of the taxes. - They are lying - I refuse to sell. They'll steal my money. - Remember the old guy in Springs who refused to sell. They built a shopping centre around his house and the sewerage pipes were next to his bedroom. When he finally caved in they gave him nothing. - I've been living here for forty years and I'm buggering off. Rhodesfield will become a den of inequity with brothels, shebeens and low cost housing. I'm telling you."
Around 2007 to 2009, the Premier and Protea Hotels, Comair Offices, Car Dealerships and the Gautrain were up and running.
A Logistics and Project Development Companies each purchased over 32 000 sqm2 and rapidly demolished four bedroomed homes and left behind piles of rubble which are now covered with grass, weeds and an assortment of litter.
Two For Sale Boards have be evident for seven years and opposite my property is a sign - Hotel Rights Approved and a contact number. I was told that the land had been sold for R19 million and was advise to be patient as: "these things take time."
Last week, six years later, I 'phoned again. The sale had fallen through and the discounted price is now R18 million. Any offers and the speedy development would be appreciated as Same Day Company Registrations and Abortions and Penis Enlargement posters have been erected which I have to peel off the poles on a regular basis. There is also a sign to contact Joe who fixes stoves, washing machines and tumble driers
In 2012 at an Emporers Palace media briefing, Prof John Kasarda of the US, the architect behind the Aerotropolis concept, declared that Rhodesfield was a Gold Mine.
He said: "This has become the most lucrative and strategic area to reside and work in as it is being cemented as the upcoming hub of development and will become a high quality area comprising regional, corporate headquarters with five star health and wellness clusters having aviation themed architecture. The distance between the Airport, Rhodesfield and the Gautrain is the ideal location for South Africa's first Mini City."
Rumours of a shopping centre near the Gautrain would be ideal for now.
It has been estimated that the Aerotropolis will generate more than 62 000 jobs and R42 billion for the economy. The Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Mondli Gungubele, has stated that a trillion rand has been set aside for the infrastructure.
A trillion rand in the Ekurhuleni coffers? Wow! Who would have thought?
Contacting the Municipality is pointless as like Manuel of Fawlty Towers, they know nothing.
In the February issue of GQ magazine - I read everything, especially if Ryan Gosling in on the cover- is an article entitled, The Growth of Airport Cities: What's Better than an Airport that looks like a Small City?
Although many said the Gautrain would never materialise, I can only hope that the Rhodesfield Aerotropolis is a reality before my other foot is in the grave.