Facelift for derelict site

2016-03-01 06:00
An artist's impression of what the development could look like on the 22-hectare area of the former Conradie Hospital in Pinelands.

An artist's impression of what the development could look like on the 22-hectare area of the former Conradie Hospital in Pinelands.

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The site of a former hospital in Pinelands is destined to play a part in healing the housing crisis in Cape Town.

Conradie Hospital, once a facility renowned for its treatment of spinal injuries, became a problem property after it was closed in 2002.

At the time the provincial government announced it was not closed down, but was relocated in part to Eerste River Hospital and in part to the purpose-built Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre on the Lentegeur hospital site.

In the more than 10 years since the “restructuring” took place, indecision regarding the property led to the buildings being vandalised. They became a problem for surrounding communities as criminal elements started hiding out in the derelict buildings.

Problems on the site escalated since 2013 with repeated calls from surrounding communities in Pinelands and Thornton for the buildings to be demolished.

Now there’s new hope for the site as plans for a major construction project were announced.

The provincial government plans to develop the 22-hectare site into a new neighbourhood of mostly residential flats.

At a joint media conference between Donald Grant, provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works, and Bonginkosi Madikizela, provincial Minister of Human Settlements, a proposal was presented of more than 3000 residential units, as well as business premises, schools and green public spaces to be constructed on this site.

The plan is to break ground by 2018.

“Currently, there is a shortage of well-located, affordable houses close to employment and economic opportunities in the city. This challenge is compounded by the thousands of people moving, from rural areas and other provinces, to the City each year in search of a better life,” the ministers say in a statement.

They promise the multibillion rand development will create affordable, integrated housing close to the Cape Town CBD.

“In doing so, we will also be able to showcase how partnerships between government and the private sector can be leveraged to deliver well-located housing opportunities across the province.”

The development will include:

. A high-density, high-rise development of mostly residential units

. Space for shops and other businesses

. Parks and other recreational spaces

. New schools

. Government services being brought closer to residents

It is estimated during the construction phase, an estimated 2000 jobs will be created as a direct result of the construction activities.

Out of the more than 3000 residential units built, half must be allocated to grant-funded housing. The other half will be sold on the open market.
“As we know, there are thousands of people living in the province who earn too much to receive a free house but who do not qualify for a bond to buy one. We believe this development will make a major contribution towards providing this group of people a meaningful housing opportunity and will help reduce the current housing backlog. We have also focused on addressing the potential increased traffic congestion resulting from this development,” the ministers state.

“There is also a growing need in the metro for decentralised centres of business, as with the increase in office accommodation in the southern suburbs of Claremont, Ronde­bosch, and Newlands. People are increasingly looking to work outside of the CBD to avoid traffic congestion and travel times in and out of the city during peak times.”

This development will offer some 10 000m² of retail space and some 14 500m² of business space, which will stimulate small business growth in the area. One of the benefits of this site’s location is its closeness to established public transport, including access to trains. There is also the potential for the expansion of the MyCiti bus service.

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