Half of 'green' CT building sold

03 Mar 2008

Although the first sod has not been turned for the building of arguably Cape Town's first "green" residential development, the Redbrick Building, more than half of the building's unit's have already been sold off plan.

The Redbrick Building, to be situated in District Six, is a new green development which will house 84 residential units on six floors.

Aquacore Property Developers chairman, Arthur Quinton, said construction would start in April and the building would be completed in July next year.

The Redbrick Building is situated on prime city land. It is situated within walking distance of the Cape Town CBD and is a stone's throw from trendy new hotspot Wembley Square, which houses a popular gym and restaurants.

Quinton said the building would have sweeping 360 degree views of the mountain and the harbour and would be built along ecologically friendly principles.

To reduce the building's carbon footprint it will incorporate solar heating and have a grey-water recycling system.

This would reduce electricity consumption by half, said Quinton, and also decrease water bills.

Additionally, by building with facebrick, the need for painting the exterior was nullified, making the building more carbon friendly.

Window and shutter sizes differed according to which elevation they appeared on, maximising light and heat insulation.

Quinton said the costs of including ecologically friendly elements into the building amounted to an additional R3,5m, which was borne by the developers. But he said going green was no longer an option but a necessity and developers needed to factor it in as a cost rather than a choice.

Units in the building were selling for between R1,1m and R4,2m and he said he anticipated younger, wealthier single people would be most attracted to it.

But one of the building's main attractions, its prime site, has attracted some controversy.

District Six is a politically sensitive area and the District Six Beneficiary Trust has taken issue with the land being privately owned.

The trust was reported in the media last year as saying they had "ring fenced" all undeveloped land in the area, whether public or private, for the purpose of restitution.

Caltex, who owned the land before Aquacor purchased it from them, were heavily criticised by the trust for selling their property to developers after allegedly promising the trust they would return the land to "the people of District Six".

But Quinton said Aquacor had no fears of the development being halted as there were no claimants on the piece of land they owned. He said the "town council" had confirmed that Aquacor were within their rights before they purchased the land from Caltex.

Additionally, he said he believed land claimants were being short changed by about R86m as they were paid restitution of R160 per square metre while Aquacore would be willing to pay R3k per square metre.

"Frustrated land claimants should be approaching developers for help, because there is clearly no-one else to help them," said Quinton.

"Don't come and shout at us, bring us your land," he said.

The District Six Beneficiary Trust was unavailable for comment. – Bianca Silva, West Cape News

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