Sir Richard Branson checks out Boschendal Property

Boschendal Estate’s newly appointed Sales and Marketing Director, Peter Rademeyer, says that in all his 23 years of selling and marketing “exceptional” developments, nothing he has handled compares with the 18 Founder’s Estates which represent the now approved Phase One of the Boschendal development.

These estates vary in size from 21 to 44ha (50 to 100 acres) and are priced from R16 to R37 million. Each Founder’s Estate has a designated area of 8 000m2 on which the buyer will be allowed to build a home, subject to design guidelines which ensure that all homes complement the architectural traditions of the area and keep visibility low.

Two of the 18 domains, says Rademeyer, have the original buildings still on them – a few others have more modern buildings and Goede Hoop, one of the most famous of all Cape Dutch buildings (it was photographed by Arthur Elliot and drawn by Alice Trotter) has what is arguably the best position of any Cape Dutch homestead.

Serious discussions regarding the Goede Hoop Estate at a price of R37 million, are now in progress and Clive Venning, CEO of Boschendal, has indicated that the decision here is likely to be made soon.

First and foremost, said Rademeyer, it is absolutely essential to get rid of the idea in the public’s mind that Boschendal’s proposal is for a subdivision or densification process – “it very definitely is not”.

“From the moment I first saw this beautiful valley with the Groot Drakenstein Mountains to the south, the Klein Drakenstein to the east, the Simonsberg to the west and the Paarl winelands corridor to the north, I realised that I would be offering buyers something totally out of the ordinary,” said Rademeyer.

This realisation, he added, comes to all who visit his office at the entrance to the historic Rhodes Drive. One such recently was Sir Richard Branson, founder and CEO of the Virgin Empire. He and his family were holidaying in Cape Town and asked to visit the estate. They were flown from Cape Town airport by helicopter.

“It would, of course, be a real drawcard to other prospective buyers if Branson decided to buy in here,” said Rademeyer, “but he has indicated that he will need a few weeks to consider the matter.”

To date six of the estates have been sold and transferred and a further two sales are in the pipeline.

Rademeyer said that the factors which impress most of the VIP buyers coming to Boschendal are that:

· buyers get freehold title to their own wine farm and private nature reserve (both managed by Boschendal);
“This,” says Rademeyer “means that they will have the privileges and pleasures of being vineyard owners without any of the inconveniences.”

· access to the entire 2 240ha Boschendal farm, including a 1 000ha of conservation area, in which there are splendid mountain walks and many dams amidst dramatic scenery, is part of the deal; as are

· special rights to reserve wines from the award winning Boschendal cellars;

· ownership in the Herbert Baker designed Cecil Rhodes Cottage is also offered. This will become their exclusive guest house and club house;

· state-of-the-art security.

· the site has convenient access to Cape Town International airport (30 minutes away) and to Cape Town itself (50 minutes away).

· Boschendal lies in the heart of the “Lifestyle Triangle”, “quaint Franschhoek, the cuisine capital of SA”, Stellenbosch, with its oak-lined streets, historic buildings, academic enclaves and excellent galleries, and Paarl with its distinctive pearl rocks and Victorian houses are all within 20 minutes’ drive of Boschendal;

Above all, says Rademeyer, local and foreign buyers like the fact that Boschendal is part of once of the world’s premier wine growing districts with its 350 year wine producing tradition.

Like many previous Boschendal spokespeople, Rademeyer said that the public need to be reminded just how conservative and responsible the proposals for Boschendal are. Only a further 6% of the estate will be developed. In reality, therefore, over 1 900ha will be retained as it is now in perpetuity and the green ground cover in all the built areas will be significantly improved.

“What sets Boschendal apart from almost any other major Cape development in a rural area is the Boschendal Sustainable Development Initiative (BSDI). Worked out in consultation with the local communities, this will draw off funding from all development undertaken at Boschendal to implement R200 million worth of socio-economic initiatives (particularly education), local agriculture (on land leased to the community), conservation, tourism and community run commercial enterprises. It will be complemented by the handover of considerable landholdings.”

In comparison to other Winelands developments (where anything up to 2 000 houses have been built on areas one half the size of the Founder’s Estates which will have only 18 houses in all), Boschendal, said Rademeyer, is a “model of restraint”.

In view of the volume of enquiries that he is now handling, a full sell-out of the Founder’s Estates seems quite possible before the end of this year, said Rademeyer, – and, he added, he supports Venning’s prediction that the estates will treble in value within five years (as did the Pezula, the Knysna clifftop properties developed by the Venning team and marketed by Rademeyer).

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