Maitland Metro Precinct is a prime example of how we can integrate our cities and reverse aparthed spatial planning
As part of my oversight visits to integrated infrastructure projects across the country, today I visited an exciting integrated human settlements development in Maitland, Cape Town.
The Maitland Metro Precinct development in the western portion of Maitland is being privately developed and rejuvenated by BlueBuck Projects into a thriving mixed-income, mixed-use precinct predominantly through the development of inclusionary and integrated housing opportunities.
This rejuvenation project intends to develop at least 1,200 residential opportunities in this centrally located node.
I was joined on my visit by Deputy Minister, Noxolo Kiviet and Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, head of Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) on the oversight visit.
Infrastructure projects are critical to the development of our country and to job creation efforts as we all look to rebuild our economy and create much needed jobs for our people. While government has various infrastructure projects underway as I have highlighted in recent weeks, the private sector is also constructing a number of important projects across the country, making their contribution to building South Africa back up better and creating jobs.
Construction on this centrally located project started in November 2020 and the first phase of rental units is progressing well. The site is less than 7km from the Cape Town city centre, the UCT main campus, Gunners Circle in Epping, Century City and even closer to Woodstock, Salt River and Voortrekker Road- some of the key economic hubs in Cape Town. This site is serviced by a range of public transport which makes the precinct a perfect location for inclusionary housing.
The project is valued at around R1.2billion and to date approximately R178 million has already been invested into the project.
The development includes nine new mixed use projects. These will include at least 1,200 new residential units split between the open rental market, Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) buyers, and social housing renters; all targeting low to middle income households. In addition, the intention is to create at least 5,000sqm of call centre space.
The units in the first project will be available for rental of between R5,000 and R7,500, and semi-furnished rooms in co-living apartments are available for R3,800. The units will be marketed as an open market rental scheme and BlueBuck Projects will launch their website and marketing drive in a few weeks’ time. In the interim, prospective tenants can email email@example.com to join the database, or visit www.maitlandmetro.co.za for more information.
These developments will be supplemented with on-street retail opportunities, landscaped public spaces, and communal recreational spaces which will enable the precinct to become a vibrant, embraced, sustainable and attractive place to live in.
South Africa’s recent public and private housing strategy has over-emphasised mega-projects placed in urban peripheries which has trapped the poor, forced lower income households away from amenities and employment opportunities, exacerbating urban sprawl. Furthermore, most large cities in South Africa are still grappling with the consequences of apartheid spatial planning disparities.
The Maitland Metro rejuvenation project aims to provide access to dignified and well located inclusionary housing opportunities, assist spatial transformation in Cape Town, and reduce travel times for workers in and around the city.
“Maitland Metro will provide housing opportunities for low to middle income households closer to working opportunities in Cape Town, and aims to be an example rejuvenation project that can be replicated in other urban suburbs. Hopefully this will encourage and expedite other human settlement developments. The rejuvenation and urban upgrades will have positive impacts on the surrounding suburbs and provide recreational opportunities for residents,” said Shaun Reznik, Chief Operating Officer of BlueBuck Projects.
This is a prime example of how human settlements developments should be done in our democracy with affordable and well-located housing, close to work opportunities and transport.
By bringing people closer to transport and work opportunities we will achieve spatial justice and reverse the legacy of apartheid spatial planning. In doing so, we also lessen the travel time and costs for residents who will live in this development.
Details of works completed
An urban design and development framework was envisioned that details an inclusive and sustainable precinct. The urban design framework strives to create a safe, diverse, inclusionary and integrated residential and working neighbourhood, with a unique sense of place at an appropriate human scale.
Vuyo Mthi, BlueBuck Development Manager, confirmed that construction is ongoing on the first development in the precinct; an 8 storey building consisting of 143 residential units and 650m² of retail, including an OK MiniMark.
“This first project commenced in November 2020 and is due for completion in November 2021. Later in 2021, the second project, a social housing project developed by Madulammoho Housing Association, will commence construction. This project will bring 204 social housing units and some training facilities to Maitland Metro. It is anticipated that at least two further projects will commence in 2022; with all buildings being completed in 2027. The priorities for the area are affordability, security, safe recreational areas for both children and adults, and easy access to needed shops and amenities”, Mthi added.
The social housing component will be developed with the support of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority.
Mthi also mentioned that, in conjunction with The City of Cape Town, design work is underway for the Voortrekker Road widening, and the upgrades of the Cannon-Voortrekker and Camp-Voortrekker Intersections. The City of Cape Town, the Maitland City Improvement District, and other property owners and tenants in the precinct are all vital stakeholders and contributors to the success of the project.
The project is under review by Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) and is intended to be showcased at the upcoming Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium in October 2021 to pitch to the market. ISA will assist with support to help unlock funding for the necessary bulk infrastructure for this project, increase vehicle movement, and assist with public transportation.
Job Creation and Economic Empowerment:
To date the project has created more than 500 site jobs. So far about 40% of on-site workers are youth. With the various projects and phases, approximately 5 000 accumulative jobs are expected to be created during the various construction periods
After completion of the projects approximately 200 permanent jobs will be created. These jobs will be in the new retail spaces, property management and maintenance.
The intention is also to attract another call centre to the area. The call centre industry has been growing for some time and this sector provides thousands of jobs to residents. The developers intend to create at least 5,000sqm of call centre space. This equates to approximately 600 permanent jobs. The developer’s engagements are ongoing with the call-centre industry and a larger opportunity is possible.
Empowerment: Contractors and sub-contractors:
Maitland Metro endorses and supports procurement processes that provide opportunities to black-owned businesses to participate in the mainstream economy.
GVK Siyazama Construction, the appointed main contractor on the first project, is a 51% black-owned Level 1 BBBEE Contributor.
Furthermore, in excess of 30 subcontractors are participating in the project, including Maitland based businesses and businesses from others from other parts of Cape Town.
Approximately half of these sub-contractors have BBBEE level 1 ratings, and many are black-owned and operated. There is active participation from women and youth in the project at all levels, site management, skilled labour and unskilled labour.
This project demonstrates the efforts underway by the private sector to rejuvenate our economy as envisioned by the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2020.
The project is contributing to the objectives of the ERRP by creating employment opportunities through construction jobs and permanent post completion operational jobs are vital in supporting and benefiting the economy.
Furthermore, by reducing commuter times and improving access to dignified housing opportunities, residents will be able to further engage with their work and family, and ultimately supplement the economy. In addition, less commuting times and vehicles can assist in reducing carbon emissions.
Increasing access to housing and commercial opportunities, tackling apartheid spatial planning, job creation, and the development of a sustainable mixed-use precinct aligns with the ERRP’s goal of a sustainable and transformed economy.
The ISA team has been engaging the developer on how it can assist with any blockages and unlocking additional investment. ISA’s involvement down the line will greatly assist in expediting the necessary approvals, working in close collaboration with the City of Cape Town.
The ISA team will also assist the developer to unlock more funding for bulk and road infrastructure upgrades and de-risk certain projects which will be shared with investors and the market at the upcoming Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium in October 2020.
I am very proud of the BlueBuck Projects team and their contractors for bringing this much needed and exciting project to Cape Town. It demonstrates that where there is a will, there is a way and all stakeholders must work closely together to see this project being implemented successfully and on time.
By bringing more of these developments to our cities, we can give more people dignified and affordable housing in well-located areas. In doing so, we will ensure that more people taste the fruits of our democracy.
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