Hotel, training project on plan
Michelle Swart finds out more about a great investment opportunity in the Cape Winelands
RENOWNED for its spectacular beauty, superb Cape wines and worldclass restaurants, the Cape Winelands village of Franschhoek was founded in 1688 by French Huguenots.
Today the valley continues its wine-making tradition that dates form the 16th century, so it comes as no surprise that some of SA’S oldest and most famous wine estates are found in the area and that they still produce some of the country’s top wines.
“Widely considered to be the food and wine capital of the Cape, Franschhoek is 40 minutes from Cape Town and is known as a safe and secure area with a happy community,” says Peter Hager, broker/owner of RE/MAX Prestige Country Properties, which operates in the area.
RE/MAX Prestige Country Properties has a 137ha wine estate on the market that it says has incredible investment potential.
The estate, situated at the entrance to the magnificent Franschhoek Valley, is a working wine estate that has five self-catering cottages.
The crops planted include a variety of wines, many sold to estates that produce some of SA’S finest wines.
The 36,99ha of vines include SA riesling, semillon, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, cabernet sauvignon, colombar, shiraz, pinotage and chardonnay.
The property is zoned agricultural with guest house/accommodation rights. However, the current owners have drafted a development proposal to expand on the current offering.
Hager says that an opportunity exists for developing the estate that lends itself to the creation of a luxury hotel. This project already has approval in principle from the Stellenbosch municipality due to its diverse socioeconomic and employment potential, with a significant historic and political history.
“Dennis Moss and Associates, the company which undertakes all the planning for Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, says in a letter to the current owner that the proposed hotel development stands an excellent chance of being approved because the land use is consistent with provincial and municipal policy and because the impact on productive agricultural land would be negligible,” says Hager.
The estate is within walking distance of the Victor Verster prison, from which former president Nelson Mandela was famously released after many years of incarceration.
“Many people incorrectly believe he was released from Robben Island, but his final release on February 11 1990 was from the gates of the Victor Verster Prison — now called Drakenstein Correctional Centre.
“This event is commemorated with a larger-than-life bronze statue depicting his famous victory salute,” says Hager.
With the creation of a new luxury hotel complex, guests would be able to enjoy the splendour of the Cape Winelands and have the memorable and emotional opportunity of visiting the former prison.
At present the estate is planted to noble cultivars and a variety of fruit crops.
The potential exists to establish an agricultural school training youth in all aspects of the wine industry, from planting and maintaining the vineyards to the end bottled product, and the marketing and merchandising of the estate wine both in SA and internationally.
“This is an exceptional employment and education opportunity that would help to provide a future for our youth,” says Hager.
He says that in addition the hotel complex would create many employment opportunities, including events co-ordination, food and beverage management, chef training, culinary supervision and restaurant management, hotel management from front of house, housekeeping and financial management — the opportunities are endless.
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that investment opportunities such as this are few and far between.
“There is no doubt that a shrewd business investor could make an overwhelming success of this project, considering the prime location and opportunities that this property presents.
“It would be advantageous if an American-based hotel group could partner a BEE group in SA to make this project a reality, as the staff could also have the wonderful motivation and opportunity to work at such a hotel group’s American operation for further training, a chance of a lifetime for many young people,” says Hager.
RE/MAX Prestige Country Properties Peter Hager 083 261 0747 Office 021 876 3147