By Donna Collins
THE Swakopmund Municipality have given Jimmey Construction an ultimatum to commence and complete the development of prime piece of seaside real estate, on behalf of Lighthouse Property Investments Trust at the Mole, or be found to be “in breach of contract”.
The council has given the developers an extension of 82 weeks, from 9 October, to commence with the construction of the luxurious multi-storey Sur La Plage development, which means ‘on the beach’ in French.
The development will comprise luxury apartments, commercial units, retail outlets and restaurants.
The Mole seaside erf is one of the most sought-after pieces of real estate in Swakopmund, and there seems to be some dissatisfaction among the public and council about the way the property developers have dragged their feet.
According to the council, the public has repeatedly expressed their concern to them about when the project will commence.
The site has been standing idle for nearly three years, due to numerous red tape delays.
Last year, the Lighthouse Property Investment Trust submitted plans to the aesthetics committee, which was approved. However, there have been unforeseen delays.
Some misunderstandings and even doubt, regarding the development deadline, resulted in the commencement date being shifted, while legislative consent and authorisations were required from the heritage committee.
In March this year, Jimmey Construction, who are the trustees of the trust, requested council’s approval for an extension to the time required to construct and complete the development, in order to resubmit the design concept, get statutory approvals, submit a construct programme and do the marketing and sales for the project.
The council has agreed to grant an extension, allowing the developer to commence construction on 9 October, failing which the municipality will invoke the breach clause.
“We will start construction in October and hope to be done by mid-2019,” confirmed Jimmey Construction Chief Executive Officer, Jacko Koen, who said the project will be the company’s flagship development.
He said the development will be employing 500 to 600 people.
“We are a proudly Namibian company and will use local materials and labour. This is especially welcome in the construction sector, which is currently experiencing retrenchments. “We will commence with bulk earthworks in October, finalising our concept. I have the set of plans in front of me, which will be presented to the quantity surveyor by next week.
“This multi-million dollar development is in line with municipal residential and commercial zoning,” Koen said.
“Because of the heritage value and location of the site, we will fall within a certain architectural look, to blend in with the environment, which is what is called ‘sense of place’.
“We have an idea, based on our first concept, and will be close to final plans in about three weeks.” Koen explained that the development will be a multi-storey one, but will fall within the height restrictions of Swakopmund Municipality, with many of the units facing the ocean.
“In the line of class and luxury, this development will be comparable to Am Weinberg Estate in Windhoek which is also nearing completion – demanding a top unit selling price in excess of N$10 million,” he told Confidente this week. Complaints from the Swakopmund Residents Association include that the construction area of the old swimming pool has remained an eyesore for too long, and considering the high-profile status of this area, as a tourist attraction, construction should be given priority.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015