THE ASLA Group, perhaps best known as provider of low-cost housing (about which more later), is also setting the tone for prestigious developments throughout the Western Cape thanks to the efforts of wholly-owned subsidiary ASLA Devco.
Key to this activity is the partnership approach of ASLA Devco. “This more often entails the bringing together of our development expertise to owners of suitable land. If required, we also have good access to bank finance”, says Marc Stuyck, commercial projects director of the company.
“However, before we undertake any such project, it will not only have to pass a proper due diligence process but also our viability studies”, he says.
A good example of this approach is the new Kingswood Golf Estate development at George.
Bordering both the well-known Fancourt Links development and the George Golf Course, and having direct road link to George itself, Kingswood truly represents what an urban estate should look like, Stuyck says.
ASLA Devco started work on this project two years ago (the 18-hole course itself was designed by Danie Obermeyer and signatured by Sally Little). Already transfer has been taken of 360 of the 400 serviced erven developed so far. Another 500 erven will be developed over two phases during the next three years. By the time it has been fully developed and built, Kingswood could represent an investment of around R1 billion.
Prices for erven range between R595 000 up to R1.7 million and, says Stuyck, keen interest is being shown by the marketplace. Speculators are notably absent with most buyers ready to build for their own purposes.
Kingswood also has a commercial component that includes a boutique hotel, a range of lodges, a family fitness club, a vibrant restaurant, bar and lifestyle quarter.
Another notable project which represents the ASLA way of ‘doing things’ is the Woodlands country estate in Plettenberg Bay. Here the company last year developed 24 erven in partnership with the landowner. Most of the erven have already been sold.
A future project in the pipe-line is Rhebokskloof close to Paarl, where a working wine farm with a residential component (an exclusive up-market development) will be established.
Some of the work in progress also includes the ASLA Business Park in the Strand, where 10 ha of land will be developed for ‘clean industries’, according to Stuyck. Half the project has already been sold and the balance will be taken up by the ASLA Group where it will build a new head office for itself as well as buildings for the to let market.
All of this does not distract from the work ASLA Devco is undertaking in the low-cost housing market. Having already built more than 18 000 houses during the past 30 years, the company is proceeding apace by completing 400 houses a month at the current rate of work.
This includes projects not only in the Cape Town metropole, but also as far afield as Uniondale and Vredendal. It is currently involved in 55 different projects, all of them spread over the Western Cape.
The company’s approach to housing of this nature includes the ability to package, manage and create a unique, cost-effective financial model of cross subsidisation between residential and non-residential development components to the benefit of the community.
This is done by forming a partnership with the local authority as well as, importantly, the local community.
On all housing projects, whether conventional Greenfield projects or managed PHP projects, about 90% of the required workforce is recruited and trained from the unemployed and unskilled within the community.
“Not only do we involve the community, but we always strive to make any project as environmentally integrated as possible”, Stuyck says.