According to the Western Cape government, 270 residential rental units for households earning under R7,500 a month could be built on the old Tafelberg school site. This is according to the government’s feasibility study on affordable housing for the site released today.
The release of the study comes after housing activist organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi had a sit-in at the provincial public works department earlier this week, demanding that the study be published. The study comes after a long running battle over the site. Housing activists were fiercely opposed to the province selling the site to Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School for R135 million, instead of building affordable housing.
According to the study, tenants could rent one of the 270 units for R1,000 to R2,300 a month. Of these units, 30% would be for families earning less than R3,500 a month and 70% would be for those earning between R3,500 and R7,500 a month. The development would include commercial, retail and community facilities. The possibility of keeping the existing school building as a school is also proposed. There is also the possibility of refurbishing the Wynyard Mansions apartment block that is on the property. These units would not be part of the affordable housing component.
The total construction costs are estimated at around R113 million, with a bit more than R40 million expected to be made in sales of retail and community facilities. The earnings from rental of residential units minus operating costs and bad debt considerations is estimated at about R50 million. Using this model, an approximately 14% return on the project before tax is expected.
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