With Cape Town’s population growing faster every year, and in light of the new world order after COVID-19, developers will have to embrace a new vision when it comes to the planning of residential estates.
‘I pore over Google Maps to see where all the open spaces in the City of Cape Town are. I wonder what kind of person will go there, live there, play there? I take endless drives dreaming of spaces, places, people … transformed.’
These are the dreams and words of Matthew Quinton, Director of Aquacor Property Developers responsible for the new StayMelville Development in Ottery for Stay Properties.
‘We take people to areas where they’re not used to being, transforming them both in the process. Because there is a space between yesterday and tomorrow, between where we have been and where we think we might be heading. A space unfilled by prejudice, hate, difference. A space inviting the bright-eyed to enter, to come and share the vision of what the world can be if we make it so. A space where the best and worst of you are enough to meet the best and worst of the person next to you. A space we can all call home. A space where children can still play in the driveway, where they can safely sit and watch ants marching to their next meal. A space where they can pick fruit from trees and observe how the world grows alongside them. These are the spaces I see when I look at underutilised areas that lie between industrial and domestic zones.’
Transformation starts with transforming spaces
He talks further about the hangovers of apartheid and how it stops people from seeing new opportunities.
‘Often opportunities are overlooked because the land is situated in an area that previously carried some kind of stigma. All the amenities are available. Schools, transport, retail and leisure areas, but our people don’t consider that. These are the kind of spaces that can be transformed. The land is usually available at the right price and this allows us to develop something spectacular, both for us and for the people who are going to be living there. It also allows us to make a profit, which is why anybody is in business.’
Matthew’s words are ringing in my ears as I stop at StayMelville. Friendly guards verify my visit at the 24-hour staffed and double-gated security entrance. I stop at one of the 348 units and Robert Koen, Marketing Manager for StayMelville, welcomes me. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments are all identical, and the show apartment – fully furnished for marketing purposes – has a feeling of modern, warm homeliness. It is compact, elegant and efficient. At 52 square metres, I had my doubts as to how comfortable one can make it without feeling cluttered. To my surprise, it seems lofty and spacious, with a natural flow to the layout and design.
Sustainability from the ground up
At StayMelville, the ‘living, evolving space’ also includes glorious landscaping and extensive gardens. Around 70% of the landscape architecture is dedicated to indigenous and/or edible gardens. Young fruit trees line the spaces between and around the different blocks. People are encouraged to use the plethora of herbs, vegetables and fruits they can find growing anywhere on the property. ‘We grow and maintain the garden for the use and joy of the people. They are also welcome to grow their own gardens in the raised beds in our communal veggie gardens,’ says Robert.
Speaking of gardens, the design approach of StayMelville is based on permaculture principles.
Matthew explains how they have dealt with the ever-present challenge of sustainably using water: ‘As you enter the estate, you will notice the massive water recycling plant. We use only greywater to flush the ±700 toilets in the estate. At an average of 10 litres per flush, that amounts to a tremendous water saving over a single day. The blackwater is then also recycled until it is 99% potable. This recycled blackwater is used in the gardens on the estate. We gather stormwater at all crucial points within the estate and divert it to the sunken football field, which is built on a bespoke French drain system. Instead of leaving the estate in a stormwater pipe and going into the nearest stream heading for the ocean, our stormwater is mainly returned to the aquifer, restoring the water table of the immediate area.
StayMelville – a model for future developments
I grew up in a rural town where there were no burglar bars, no locking of doors. We played in the streets, and our parents knew we were safe. We ate fruit from the trees and vegetables from the garden. StayMelville reminds me of my childhood and, in Matthew’s words,
‘this development is a shining example of how the differences between us are the similarities that bind us together into the magnificent rainbow nation that we are.’
Facilities and levies
StayMelville is specifically designed to be a safe, affordable, fun, sustainable place to live and/or bring up a family. It’s close to major retail centres and schools. All units are two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes. Facilities include:
- double-gated perimeter
- 24/7 staffed access
- two mini soccer fields
- community centre
- jogging track
- communal veggie gardens
- communal fruit trees
- water recycling
- high-speed fibre.
The levies are R1,299 and include:
- 5Mbps internet service
- security and guarding
- use of gym and community centre
- maintenance and repairs of the common property
- caretaker, cleaning and gardening staff
- recycling and refuse collection
- management fee
- building insurance (excluding contents)
- black-water system
- accounting, bank and other office costs.
Levies do not include:
- council rates, which are R450 at present
- electricity use in your unit
- hot and cold water use in your unit
- insurance of your unit’s contents
- additional parking bay rentals (if required)
- storage room rental (if required)
- preschool (if required)
- aftercare (if required).
How to get to live at StayMelville
StayMelville consists of 348 apartments, of which 288 will be kept by StayProperties in a rental pool that will be managed on-site by Chorus Letting. The other 60 are available as sectional title units, and are on sale now.
At present, ground floor units are R1,275,000, first floor R1,229,000 and second floor R1,199,000. Purchases are free of transfer duty. West-facing top-floor units have a view of the Peninsula Mountain Chain from Devil’s Peak to Muizenberg.
Rentals start at R8,450 per month.