Dad’s R198m luxury gift

2013-06-16 14:00

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Sale to steel magnate sets a new record for the highest price paid for a home in SA

The Clifton, Cape Town, flat that fetched R198 million late last year was bought by South African steel magnate Eric Samson – and is believed to be a gift for his daughter.

The private sale between luxury hospitality group Molori Private Retreats and the founder of Macsteel set a new record for the highest price paid for a home in South Africa.

The apartment – at a cost of R1.5 million per square metre – boasts sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean through retractable glass walls.

City Press this week learnt that Samson’s daughter Franki Cohen lives in the 1 300m² luxury unit with its six bedrooms, gym, infinity pool and private cinema. Cohen declined to comment.

South Africa’s most expensive address, Unit 1 at The Clifton, is part of an apartment block consisting of six units overlooking white beaches at the foot of Cape Town’s Lion’s Head.

The previous record sale was R115 million for a penthouse at Sol Kerzner’s One&Only Hotel at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.

Samson, believed to be one of the wealthiest men in the country, usually manages to evade the spotlight.

Cyril Ramaphosa, a member of Macsteel Holdings’ board, sang Samson’s praises in an interview with Financial Mail in 2006, saying: “He has built a gigantic, world-class business without going public. No other SA businessman has done that.”

Meanwhile, players in the Atlantic seaboard’s multibillion-rand property market say that in the neighbouring suburb of Fresnaye, former Springbok coach Harry Viljoen’s sprawling mansion was bought by a Middle Eastern businessman for R110 million this week.

Viljoen denied this, saying the deal was not finalised. “I have had offers, but the deal is not through yet. There’s been so much hype around this sale, I’m telling people to relax. It’s worse than in my sporting days.”

He said he was looking to downgrade his home due to changed priorities.

Another record property price was fetched in nearby Bantry Bay late last year when architect Stefan Antoni’s villa fetched R65 million.

Property doyenne Denise Dogon sold the home to a businessman from west Africa. She said she was unable to divulge details because of a confidentiality agreement.

Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard appeared recession resistant and the weakening rand had led to a spree of foreign buying, said Ian Slot, Seeff’s MD for the area.

Foreigners have snapped up 75 properties worth R566 million since January. Sales to investors from African countries are on the rise, with four properties bought by Nigerian investors this year.

Mark Shewan of Molori Private Retreats, which also manages the luxurious Madikwe Game Reserve, insisted the Clifton buy was good value for money.

“Sure, R198 million is a lot, but we do build things properly,” he said.

The Clifton is situated where the rustic old Clifton Hotel once stood: where bikini-clad girls lounged on sun-drenched decks in the 1960s. Clifton was also a gathering place for poets and anti-apartheid intellectuals living in wooden bungalows.

Today it is known for glass and steel structures with ever-soaring price tags. Other owners in the area include Michael Rutherford of English rock group Mike and the Mechanics, politician Cyril Ramaphosa, retired Pick n Pay chief executive Sean Summers, maverick Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and the secretive Italian chocolate-making Ferrero family.

Stuart Chait, Clifton resident and executive chairman of the Land Equity Group, described his neighbourhood as the “St Tropez of Africa”.

He said other comparable property portfolios abroad included Cannes in France, and the Italian islands of Capri and Sardinia.

Muhammed Areff of property information firm Knowledge Factory predicted further activity in the area on the back of the fallen rand.

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