Mayor announces development of over 760 affordable CBD homes

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Daily Maverick

Social housing was a hot-button issue at a Cape Town City Council meeting on Thursday, with DA Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announcing two inner-city properties set to deliver about 760 affordable housing units.

At a full council sitting on Thursday, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that more than 760 social housing units near Cape Town’s city centre were to be developed. 

He asked the municipal council to approve the start of public participation in the city’s intention to release properties in Newmarket Street in Woodstock and Pickwick Street in Salt River for the development of social housing. 

The Newmarket Street project “is set to include around 365 mixed-market units and 165 social housing units,” said Hill-Lewis. 

“The second property on the agenda today is Pickwick, a major development, which should include some 600 social housing units,” he added.  

Together, the Newmarket Street and Pickwick projects are set to deliver more than 760 affordable homes in mixed-income developments, near the City Bowl. 

Addressing council members, Hill-Lewis said the city had more than 6,500 social housing units in the pipeline across 50 land packages. These include 2,000 social housing units in central Cape Town and a further 2,500 opportunities – “either in the construction phase or close to it” – along the Voortrekker Road Corridor.  

“Spades have been in the ground at Maitland for several months already, where 200 social housing units are under construction,” he said.  

“In Woodstock, building plans for the Pine Road development were submitted for approval on 20 May by the social housing developer Sohco.”  

The mayor said that if all goes according to plan, construction would start on this inner city social housing project within a few months, which should allow for tenanting by late 2023 or early 2024.  

Dillon Lane, also in Woodstock, is set to deliver about 150 social housing units. 

“I’m advised that it is possible to start construction within a year and that both the site development plan and building plan approvals can be completed within 2022. We will be pushing to get this done in the earliest time frame possible,” said Hill-Lewis.  

On the back of Hill-Lewis’ electoral pledge to accelerate land release for social housing and shorten City processes, the city is also advancing an advocacy agenda for the national government to release large pieces of unused state land in the city, which are at least 77 times the size of the land the city owns.

The Good party’s Brett Herron, who has often crossed swords with Hill-Lewis over affordable housing and spatial planning in the city, was “encouraged by the City of Cape Town’s about-turn on the development of affordable housing on well-located parcels of publicly owned land in the inner city”. 

“We welcome the development of public land for public good. We are pleased that the city has come to its senses by recognising the long-term value of developing mixed-use and mixed-income developments with a threshold of a minimum number of social housing units,” added Herron.

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