From derelict to daycare

2015-07-07 06:01
Renovations are underway to transform a derelict building in Dorp Street into a crèche.

nicole mccain

Renovations are underway to transform a derelict building in Dorp Street into a crèche. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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A derelict building in the Bo-Kaap is being given a new lease on life.

Renovations are underway to transform the heritage building at 81 Dorp Street, recently declared a problem building site, into an early learning centre.

Over the years, the property has changed hands numerous times, ward councillor Dave Bryant previously told People’s Post (“Residents’ homegroan”, 23 July 2013).

Locals have been complaining about illegal activity at the former manor house for years but, due to a hitch in a land transfer, the building slipped further into disrepair. Attempts to brick the building proved futile, as street people vandalised the property to gain entry.

The delay in transferring the property from the Progressive Muslim Trust to the Boorhaanol Trust saw it standing empty for several years and becoming a haven for vagrants and a site for illegal dumping.

Locals suspected drug abuse and dealing was taking place on the site as well.

The Boorhaanol Trust took transfer of the building in March, says chairperson Abdul Bassier, after delays were caused by administration and the settlement of property rates owed.

The Trust is now pumping R900 000 into restoring the property.

Believed to be around 150 years old, the Georgian-style house was used as a homestead by British settlers. The settlement, including the Upper Leeuwen Street Park, dates to the 1700s and is an important part of Cape Town’s architectural heritage, Bryant says.

As the building is an old colonial manor house and a heritage site, the property will have to be restored in keeping with its heritage status, he says.

The renovations will see the improvement of the structural stability of certain wall sections and will make the property habitable.

These renovations will be in line with the historical status of the building and will aim to preserve the heritage identity of the building, Bas­sier says. “The improvements should have a positive impact on the surrounding community,” he says

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