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Communicare develops 314 social housing units at Bothasig Gardens

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Residents of Cape Town working in and around Bothasig, Century City or the City Centre who travel to work from far flung areas, now have an opportunity to live much closer to work.

Construction is began on November 4 on land owned by Communicare in Bothasig for 314 new rental housing units. Phase 1 of Bothasig Gardens compromises 165 units completed in 1994 and Phase 2 was occupied in 2013 with 120 units under the government’s social housing programme.

Phase 3 extends the social housing by adding 314 homes for families who would otherwise find living in Bothasig unaffordable.

The social housing developed by Communicare is a result of the organisation’s innovative approach to financing housing delivery. To grow its portfolio of social housing, Communicare cross subsidises social housing from its other property sales and rentals. The surplus generated is used, in part, to fund the development of social housing.

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This model makes it possible for Communicare to allocate over R20m of its own funds to develop the social housing at Bothasig Gardens. A total of R162.8m will be spent on this development financed through a combination of Communicare funds, commercial loans and government grants.  A loan of R33m has been raised from Mergence Infrastructure and Development Debt Fund, an impact fund managed by Mergence Investment Managers.

“We are pioneers in impact investment in South Africa. We choose to work with well managed institutions such as Communicare that make a social and economic difference to people’s lives. We believe that our partnership with Communicare on the Bothasig Gardens development will assist in increasing the availability of affordable residential rental accommodation in Cape Town,” said Mark Van Wyk, Head of Unlisted Investments at Mergence.

The development will afford 314 families the opportunity to be closer to work opportunities, to main transport routes along the N1, to schools, hospitals and local shopping malls. It provides opportunities for Cape Town residents to live in areas from which they were previously excluded.

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Along with these new apartments, we are creating a community for tenants by building designated play areas and a hall for recreational and cultural activities. It’s about creating the kind of community that we would want to share and be part of.

Saving cash and water is important for tenants. Communicare will install energy saving lighting, heat pumps, dual flush toilets and water-wise showerheads to help tenants save. The indigenous landscaped gardens will be irrigated by using water harvested on site.

To qualify for accommodation at Bothasig Gardens, families must earn a household income of less than R15 000. However, 30% of the accommodation will be allocated to households earning less than R5 500 per month.

Construction on the two, three and four storey buildings begins in November 2019. These are good quality studio, one and two bedroom homes that afford tenants a starter opportunity to achieve greater things.

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There are four different types of units to choose from to accommodate a range of people in different stage of their lives. Younger people or a couple just starting out may want to start with a studio unit while the larger two-bedroom units are better suited to families. The studio units are about 31 m², one-bedroom units about 36 m² and the two-bedroom units are between 42 and 45 m².

The development has 94 studios, 63 one-bedroom and 157-two bedroom apartments to choose from.

Many young people starting a career or a new job don’t have much choice of accommodation in Cape Town. We are all well aware that property is expensive and young families find it difficult to rent affordable and decent housing. The latest phase of Bothasig Gardens offers affordable rentals for working people.

“The prices will be about a third of what you would pay for similar accommodation in Bothasig. This is incredible value for our tenants. Bothasig Gardens makes it possible for families to live, work and raise children in a supportive environment, close to all the services they need,” says Neville Fowler, CFO of Communicare.

“I must thank Mergence Investment Managers, for partnering with Communicare and bringing us one step closer to making more social housing available to those who need it in Cape Town.”

“I’m proud to be making a small contribution towards a city that caters for all its residents alike, while addressing the inequality of social planning that we inherited,” said Fowler.

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