World class potential
Gordon’s Bay, known for its Blue Flag status, is attracting both local and foreign investment, writes Anna-Marie Smit
THIS quaint False Bay fishing village, located below Sir Lowry’s pass and overlooking the Cape Peninsula, offers residents and investors an unbeatable lifestyle. Gordon’s Bay regularly attracts wealthy buyers, who after developing an affinity for its Mediterranean lifestyle, see its potential of being developed into a sophisticated world-class location.
Jaco Roets, of Peter Venter Properties, says the village is seeing improved property movement that continues to attract a mix of foreigners and Gauteng buyers, who mostly invest in the town’s prime areas such as the Village and Suikerbossie, all overlooking either Bikini, Main or Sunset beaches.
Roets says buyers are lured by the north-facing location backed by a mountain and harbour views.
He says it compares favourably with Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard, both with mountains and a spectacular coastline, but with False Bay’s waters several degrees warmer than the icy Atlantic.
Roets says enterprises that attract tourism include the waterfront marina called Harbour Island, a development built on reclaimed land, with canals, a hotel, sea-side shops and restaurants.
However, for new investors who see the potential of Gordon’s Bay’s world class lifestyle and decide to create holiday homes, or even relocate there, it is not always plain sailing.
Owners of new developments and buildings here regularly experience opposition from long-time residents, some of whom are less enthusiastic about their village being developed into a popular seaside marina, and others who have a vested interest in sustainable development. Yet such long-time residents have over time contributed enormously to the wellbeing of their town by protecting their environment and adding value to properties.
For this reason, town councils and residential watchdogs play a pivotal role in maintaining the balance between sustainable development and capital investment. However, developers and architects say legitimate objections from different parties create extraordinary lengthy and costly delays, resulting from a council’s slow administration process.
To avoid huge costs, industry professionals have repeatedly appealed to the Helderberg council for streamlined procedures, as they regularly received approvals after objections are lodged.
The recent development by Nexprop Property Developers, who built Bikini Suites, a luxury beachfront guest house located in a prime north facing position on Beach Road overlooking Bikini Beach, is an illustration of goodwill by upcountry investors.
The completed guest house consists of three storeys with an owner’s penthouse of four en suite bedrooms, plus four two bedroom guest suites, all with magnificent views over the Old Harbour, Somerset West and the Helderberg.
Nexprop is offering the penthouse and two bedroom suites to investors through a shareblock scheme, as well as financing of up to 80%.
A rental pool agreement will make it possible for the investors to earn a return on their suite when not using it. The suites are currently on the market from R2,5m (excluding vat) and the penthouse from R5,9m (excluding vat).
Frank Peter, of Nexprop, says although due process was followed throughout the applications and guest house rights were granted on a temporary departure, final approval has been delayed as a result of an extra-legal lobby group, the Gordons Bay Villgage Action Group, who had appealed the granting of the guest house consent
The building site has received approval from the local council, with the Helderberg Municipality’s building department confirming that it is correct in terms of architectural plans submitted.
Peter says: “The provincial authorities should implement measures in streamlining the process of appeals that come at high cost to developers and industry professionals.”
Last year Marcus Smith Architectural firm in Gordon’s Bay also expressed frustration about lengthy delays by the authorities in processing objections.
At the time Bennu Smit, from the firm, suggested the city should allow its regional offices, who are equipped to deal with objections, to streamline the extremely costly objection processes instead of submitting it to the heavily loaded City of Cape Town municipal offices.
Commenting on the development process in Gordon’s Bay, Rowan Dent of the Gordon’s Bay Residents Association (GBRA), says: “While the association supports all development that complies with environmental and spatial development frameworks, it has opposed some unlawful developments in the area.
“However, the GBRA would like to see developers investing in Gordon’s Bay, while at the same time maintaining the unique character of the old village.”
He says it is pleasing to see modern architectural styles in the latest housing developments that complement the natural beauty of the area, a welcome contrast to some of the older parts of the village.
Roets says that while there is a valid place for legitimate objections, it can be costly to ratepayers, and by avoiding delays the authorities can apply muchneeded funds and valuable time to town development.