DURBAN – The fourth addition to the South Coast’s Hibiscus Retirement Village’s portfolio called the Widenham Retirement Village(WRV) has currently sold 170 units off plan.
WRV project coordinator John Webster said that the project’s phase 1 sold out 88 units, while 38 units were built and occupied since October last year.
“We are building eight units a month. We have sold most of phase 2 and phase 3 is open for sale,” said Webster.
One bedroom apartments are available in phase two at R950,000 while phase three is available with starting prices of R1,630,000 for a two bedroom home.
The project set on 100 hectares of land, which cost R40 million and had a R700m budget without inflation.
Webster said as WRV was building 88 units a year and aimed to complete the development 2023.
“The development has not been smooth as various departments want their say. Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation required water use licences because we are building close to a river and wetland areas. The new SPLUMA (Spatial Plan Land Use Management Act) is a nightmare as all municipal departments are required to have input. Without a developer driving this, the required approvals are not easily provided by the various departments,” said Webster.
He said that as a life right development the banks were reluctant to loan them capital and so it was self-funded and led to the company having to be extremely careful with its cash flow.
WRV was preceded by three other projects developed over a long period. The developer, 53 year old Hibiscus Retirement Villages (the Society) developed the villages themselves.
The first village, called Margate Retirement Village took in its first cottage residents in 1973 with 18 cottages at the time. The final development in Margate was the conversion of the 300 room frail care facility into 56 two-bedroom flats. The development cost for this project in 2003 was about R20m. There are 443 cottages and flats in Margate.
The second one, Ramsgate Retirement Village only has 61 cottages and was taken over by the Society in 1994 from the then Ramsgate Town Board. The development took about eight years to complete.
The third Umdoni Retirement Village was built on land donated by Professor and Mrs Coles for this purpose. In 1994 there were 45 units on the site and the Society was anxious to sell off the village as there was no future for a retirement village in Pennington. They preserved and built five units, which they sold. The development was completed when a further 11 hectares of adjacent ground was purchased and 136 units were built. This was completed in 2011 at a cost of R100m.
He said the developments were all similar as they contained the same amenities, which include bowling greens, tennis courts, swimming pools with indoor activities being provided for.
He said the society’s policy was to provide residential accommodation and nursing services and care when necessary. Residents could be moved from their cottages to frail care when the need arose.
Retires living in the units were aged between 60 years to 80 years.
“We have residents from Hermanus, the Western Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. We even have a couple from Hong Kong,” he said.