… As 44-room accommodation project falls flat
By Eliaser Ndeyanale
The City of Windhoek Council has rejected an application by Plan Africa Consulting to rezone a Windhoek West plot, from residential to institutional, so the company can build student accommodation facilities.
Plan Africa Consulting bought Erf 1846, situated on the corner of Beethoven and Strauss streets in Windhoek West, so it could build accommodation for University of Namibia (Unam), Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the International University of Management (IUM) students.
However, before any construction goes ahead the land must be rezoned from residential to institutional, which the City refused to do during its council meeting late last month.
The developer’s plan is to build student accommodation consisting of 44 rooms, which the City believes that is too high a number for the land.
The council claims in documents, presented during the recent meeting, the erf forms part of the central business district, and that it has a high density policy in area.
In March this year, City Town Planner, Wilson Billawer, wrote to Plan Africa Consulting, saying a rezoning to general residential is recommended in this case, which can accommodate four residential buildings.
Billawer said further that each residential building can have five or six bedrooms, with one common kitchen and lounge, which will create between 20 to 25 rooms, but not the 44 the developer had applied for.
The City of Windhoek management committee last week recommended that residential properties, with a density of 1:900 square metres, for establishment of student accommodation, “cannot be supported”.
It said that it could not support Erf 1846 being rezoned from residential, with a density of 1:900 square metres, to general residential with a density of 1:250 square metres, for the development of four residential buildings.
The management committee said further that the applicant, Plan Africa Consulting, should be informed that the 44 bedrooms applied for cannot be supported, due to small size of the site, the outcome of the Windhoek West Transportation Land Use Study, the current insufficient capacity of the sewerage lines in the area and the objections received.
The council also suggested that the developer agrees to pay a betterment fee of N$150 700 for the plot.
Windhoek’s accommodation rental prices have skyrocketed, and have long been out of the reach of students.
The Prime Rent Ranking, compiled by Knight Frank, an international real estate company, shows that the residential rent for a four-bedroom executive house is in the region of N$33 600 per month.
One-bedroom student accommodation can cost a minimum of N$3 000 and above, in the city centre.
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