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Salt River Market site to provide 820 affordable housing units

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The Salt River Market site will be a mixed-use development that could deliver more than 820 affordable housing units to lower-income families.

The City of Cape Town’s Council on Thursday agreed to transfer the Salt River Market site for a mixed-use development that could deliver more than 820 affordable housing units to lower-income families. 

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, councillor Malusi Booi said: “I’m elated by Council’s decision to agree, in principle, to transfer this City-owned land. The Salt River Market site is valued at R114,3 million, but Council has agreed to make the land available at 10% of the price – R11,4 million – to a Social Housing Institution (SHI) for development in the near future. This is a progressive, forward-thinking decision in the interest of our residents, and in the interest of the greater public good.

“The latest feasibility study confirms that this site – consisting of 13 erven and 1,4 hectares in total – could be developed to provide over 820 affordable housing units to lower-income families. This decision paves the way for bringing lower-income families closer to centres of employment and public transport. It also means we can begin to mitigate the impact of gentrification where families who have been living in well-located areas for decades are displaced as a result of urbanisation, and new investments and developments.

“I also want to applaud council for breaking with our apartheid past when poor, mostly black families, were placed on the outskirts of Cape Town. This is indeed a historical day and confirms the City’s commitment to addressing the legacy of apartheid spatial planning,” said Booi. 

The council had, at its previous meeting on 25 October 2018, referred the request to transfer the Salt River Market site back to the relevant City departments for further clarification and analysis.

“Given that the request was for Council to agree in principle to transfer the Salt River Market site at 10% of its value, we had to be extra diligent and cautious to ensure that we – the City and Capetonians – get the maximum value for this public asset. Thus, by giving such a huge discount to the SHI which will develop the site, we had to ensure we will get the maximum benefit.

“We faced a lot of criticism at the time about the call to refer the report back to the City directorates, but this was the right decision. The officials and the SHI who did the pre-feasibility study had about eight weeks to rework the numbers and I am pleased to say that they succeeded in finding a way of providing more affordable housing units on this site.

The outcome of the pre-feasibility study on the Salt River Market site is as follows:

  • 14 607 m² in extent of which 12 907 m² is developable
  • Achievable bulk amounts to 38 235 m², of which 2 000 m² can be used as parking, retail and community space

Over 820 affordable housing units could be provided as part of a mixed-use, mixed-income development, consisting of:

  • 216 social housing units. These are affordable rental units for families with a combined monthly income of between R1 500 and R15 000
  • 100 GAP units for families with a combined income of R22 000 per month
  • 507 residential units where the monthly rent is capped at R13 000 

The site currently houses the Salt River Market, the municipal hall, the derelict erstwhile Stables; and is bounded by Voortrekker and Bromwell Roads and the railway line.

“It’s very important to point out that this is an in-principle approval only. This is the first step in the process to implement the proposal to transfer and develop this City-owned land. The City still needs to draw up a development agreement with terms and conditions which is to serve before Council for approval. It’s only thereafter, and once Council agrees with the development agreement and conditions, that the site will be formally transferred to the Social Housing Institution partner who will develop this land,” said Booi.

The proposed development will thus not happen overnight.

“I want to assure all interested and affected parties that we won’t cut any corners. We must and will follow due process. We all stand to benefit from this and we want to get it right. The investment will uplift the local area and assist with the regeneration of Salt River and Woodstock,” said Booi.

The location of this City-owned site is pivotal, given that it is less than 5 km away from the Cape Town central business district.

”It’s also located within the Voortrekker Road Corridor Integration Zone, one of three integration zones where the City has committed to spending the bulk of our capital budget on infrastructure that must begin to reshape Cape Town’s spatial form.

“Thus, the proposed development will meet some of our key objectives, namely, the commitment to pursue high-density development along public transport corridors; the provision of affordable housing opportunities on well-located land close to jobs and public transport; and to direct our resources to areas where investment will benefit the most people, in particular, the most vulnerable in our society,” said Booi.

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