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Kenilworth conversion to student flats

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14 Nov 2012

Property investors and parents of some of South Africa’s top university students are spearheading a mini property boom in one of Cape Town’s most established suburbs, in the wake of a shortage of affordable top-end accommodation in the city’s Southern Suburbs.

Robyndale has been transformed into a modern apartment block, complete with uniformed concierge, high-tech security, a luxurious pool area and a spectacular penthouse.

In Kenilworth, one of the city’s oldest established suburbs, spacious apartments that offer New York-style living complete with uniformed concierge and lap pool are selling for under R1 million.

Figures show there more than 6 000 of  the country’s students from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have chosen to study at UCT but space in university residences is limited and has forced students to look for off-campus accommodation that is affordable, secure and offers long-term investment potential.

John Rabie, who has been an integral part of the Cape property market and the visionary behind successes like Westlake, Century City and Atlantic Beach, says while property investors have always catered for the burgeoning student market, parents are finally catching up.

Robyndale offers spacious one, two and three bedroom apartments, off-site parking and garages and views from the mountain to the sea. The price of a one bedroom unit starts at R1 050 000.

“Rather than spend thousands on student residence fees or rent ‘digs’, parents are seeing the sense in buying apartments for their children to live in," Rabie says, adding once the child graduates and starts working, they can either take over the bond, rent the apartment out to generate income or the family can use it as a holiday home or retirement pad. "Either way, they are getting a tangible asset for their money, while the student has a safe, comfortable environment that teaches them independence.”

Rabie’s new private-label property company called Signatura has transformed Robyndale into a modern apartment block, complete with uniformed concierge, high-tech security, a luxurious pool area and a spectacular penthouse.

Situated in Upper Kenilworth in a precinct that includes easy access to UCT, Robyndale is close to Maynard Mall, Chelsea Village, Cavendish Square and Newlands cricket and rugby stadiums.

There will be a concierge service on duty on the fully refurbished porte cochere to help residents with visitors and deliveries, giving the block a New York style vibe.

Robyndale offers spacious one, two and three bedroom apartments, off-site parking and garages and views from the mountain to the sea. Kenilworth is a thriving suburb with proximity to the city and the beaches at Muizenberg. "Its central position has made it one of the most desirable areas in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs,” he says.

Units start at R900 000 (including VAT), with an average refurbished one bed (65 square metre) with parking priced from R1 050 000, a two bed (85 square metre) at R1 375 000, and a three bed with a garage and parking bay at R1 595 000.

Rabie says there is no more land for new developments in Kenilworth and the value an older block offers is higher than any new building. "We believe the return on investing in a block like Robyndale could be around 7 percent. And buying directly from Signatura, which is the developer, means no transfer duty is payable.”

Signatura’s model for Robyndale offers buyers the option to buy apartments “as is” or refurbished units with contemporary kitchens and bathrooms, giving the owners the freedom to choose what suits their pockets and tastes, he says.

"The building is in immaculate condition, and we can take the hassle out of co-ordinating builders or leave buyers to do their own thing.” He says Signatura has polished up an “old treasure” in Robyndale and are offering it at excellent value.

Rabie adds they are spending millions to upgrade security, modernise key architectural features with the guidance of renowned architect Juan Bernicchi and putting in a lap pool with a gazebo that will be set in an indigenously landscaped garden.

There will also be a concierge service on duty on the fully refurbished porte cochere to help residents with visitors and deliveries. "The foyer is a warm and inviting space, with artwork to make you feel like you’re at home.”

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