Cape Flats home buyers get a boost

The first bricks in an innovative housing scheme - to help first-time buyers in historically disadvantaged areas - will be laid on Thursday in Blue Downs on the Cape Flats.

"Bardale Village is the answer for many first-time home buyers who have been battling to become part of the Western Cape's surging property market," the Western Cape's trade and investment promotion agency, Wesgro, said in a statement.

Ismail Dockrat, Wesgro chief executive, said Bardale Village was a R90 million property investment aimed at providing secure, affordable and quality living for first-time home buyers and lower-to-middle income families.

The development will be located between the Stellenbosch arterial and Hindle roads, less than 15 minutes from Cape Town International Airport, Bellville, Blackheath and the Winelands, and only a half-hour drive from central Cape Town.

"We see Bardale Village as a flagship investment in township property and playing quite a big role in township regeneration," said Dockrat.

He said Wesgro wanted to encourage "more diversified investment" into the Western Cape, and to attract investment in areas whose economic potential had not yet been unlocked.

The development was funded by a German consortium, Integrated Housing Development. The houses borrowed from Germany's "Gartenstadt" designs, which provided medium-density residential complexes that offered security, social facilities and environmentally friendly designs at affordable prices.

According to Jacko McCarthy, project manager for the Bardale Village development, homes will range from one to five bedrooms, and be priced between R160,000 and R310,000.

"There is a big demand in Cape Town for aesthetically appealing low-cost housing with easy access to amenities such as transport, shopping areas, schools and hospitals. Bardale addresses this and is accessible to families that earn from about R6500 per month," said McCarthy.

Blue Downs is part of the outlying areas earmarked by the Western Cape government for development.

Plans include improving public transport in the area, building more schools and other facilities that would encourage employment generation.

"In support of black economic empowerment and as a community development initiative, we are using local skills as much as possible in this project," said McCarthy.

He hoped that some of the work created would be sustainable even after the development had been completed.

Thursday's brick-laying ceremony marked the first of eight phases, with the first phase expected to be completed by mid-2005 and the entire development completed within seven years or less.

Article by: Veven Bisetty