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Showing posts from May, 2012

Schubart Park hopes for a lifeline

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Schubart Park hopes for a lifeline I have long held the believe that the South African "obsession" with housing is illogical and unsustainable. I have previously said it makes no sense to create RDP and affordable housing on large tracts of land situated very far away from most employment opportunities. Poor people have to spend large portions of their meagre income just to get to work (or even worse, to look for work) ... it is illogical. The densification of urban areas in South Africa would therefore make sense. Having just spent a short time in China has enhanced this view. When I look at all the high rise residential developments in places like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, it seems to be just so much more efficient.  Such densification also allows urban planners to establish much better public transport systems and may have prevented the whole "e-tolling saga" in South Africa. HOWEVER, such high rise residential developments require both efficient m

Tshwane Council may not levy 'illegal use' rates on properties

Tshwane Council may not levy 'illegal use' rates on properties In a judgment that could be of importance to Pretoria property owners whose rates and taxes have significantly escalated over the years, the Pretoria High Court has ruled that the Tshwane Metro Council is not allowed to include a category of "illegal use" in its rating policy. When the council adopted its municipal property rates policy in terms of the Municipality Property Rates Act, it created a category known as "illegal use". This was used to levy rates and taxes on an exorbitant scale on properties it believed to be in contravention of the property's zoning. Law firm Marius Blom & GC Germishuizen Inc approached the court to have this policy declared unlawful. Lawyer Marius Blom said he had suddenly noticed an additional amount of more than R100 000 on the rates and taxes bill of the property in Duncan Street, Brooklyn, from where they run their firm. "This illegal ca

R15m wasted on Pretoria building 'revamp'

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R15m wasted on Pretoria building 'revamp' Three years on and despite millions of rand being budgeted for its refurbishment, Kruger Park is nothing more than a shell, a far cry from the days it accommodated thousands of inner city residents. A file picture of Kruger Park flats during a fire which claimed five lives. The residents moved out after a fire claimed five lives in July 2008. They removed their possessions and what was left was cleared out by the Tshwane Metro Council so work could being on the refurbishment of the building. But work never started and thieves have stripped the building bare, taking away the copper, alluminium and the steel which was part of the structure. Police recently arrested a scrap metal dealer, on whose property fittings from Kruger Park were found. Over the weekend, a metro police officer who had responded to Treports of thieves carting zinc from the building was stabbed by a wouldbe-thief when he intervened. "The building

Outcome of Constitutional Court case 'crucial to property development'

Outcome of Constitutional Court case 'crucial to property development' As yet, says Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Properties, the multi-faceted residential property marketers now expanding throughout South Africa, the property sector (with a few exceptions) has not yet appreciated the huge significance of the Aengus Lifestyle Properties vs Inner City Resource Centre Constitutional Court case. The background to this case is that a property developer bought a rundown, old fashioned block of apartments in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, an area which is much in demand by tenants, especially students, on account of its strategic position. The developer then made known to the tenants his plan to renovate and upgrade the units - as a result of which, he said, rents would have to be raised 100 to 150%. This was shattering to the tenants concerned because they had been paying very low rents, some of which were said to be under R1 200 per month. Furthermore, some of the tenants had live

Tshwane council faces R44m claim in Munitoria design dispute

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Tshwane council faces R44m claim in Munitoria design dispute The Tshwane Metro Council is facing a R44 million claim instituted by a firm of architects which won a design competition for its new municipal headquarters. An architectural model of the building which was meant to replace Munitoria, as seen from Proes Street. The competition, known as Project Phoenix, was run by the then Pretoria City Council, in consultation with the Pretoria Institute of Architects. More than 70 entries were received for the competition, which was launched in November 1998 and was aimed at finding a suitable design for Munitoria, which was gutted by fire in 1997. The municipality unveiled the new-look Munitoria in July 1999. The company's damages claim in the Pretoria High Court is based on an agreement with the council regarding the rebuilding of Munitoria. The firm said that after the building was gutted by fire, it entered into an agreement with the council after having won the comp

Commercial property recovery fails to take off in 2011

Commercial property recovery fails to take off in 2011 The commercial real estate market maintained modest growth over 2011, producing a 10.4 percent total return according to the SA Property Owners Association/ Investment Property Databank Sapoa/IPD) property index. This subdued result marks a softening in the market from the mini- recovery in 2010 - which delivered a 13.4 percent return - but it is still an improvement over 2009. Uncertainty in global markets, weak local demand and slowing consumer confidence resulted in muted capital growth of just 1.4 percent, and income returns were steady at 8.9 percent. Results improved marginally in the latter half of 2011, however. Concerns remain, though, particularly over the health of secondary markets. Even at a national level, fundamentals are placing downward pressure on rentals and bottom line returns. Vacancies rose from 6.6 percent to 6.9 percent, rental growth reduced to 6.2 percent and at the same time rental yields softened

Property market ticks up as supply and demand rebalance

Property market ticks up as supply and demand rebalance The residential property market is showing tentative signs of a slow recovery despite activity levels still being significantly lower than during the previous house market boom in 2006 and 2007. Mortgage originator ooba revealed yesterday that it had experienced significant growth in bond applications and approved home loans last month, with the value of its home loan approvals increasing by 49 percent year on year. Saul Geffen, the chief executive of ooba, said this was the company's best performance since April 2008, but stressed it still represented only 34 percent of the value of approvals recorded by ooba in May 2007. Geffen attributed these increases to a rise in buyer activity and easier access to finance, together with ooba's increased market share and the slow improvement in the domestic economy. He said the Adcorp employment index revealed that about 108 000 jobs were created last month, the strongest g

Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!