‘People’s property’ development set to shine in Somerset West
“Property is all about people.” This was the unanimous message at a recent lunch hosted by dream-team property development cooperative, Omwieco. Held at the exquisite Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch, the meeting saw Omwieco’s three partners, Omnicron, Lazercor and Wiehahn, welcoming Investec on board as the financier for their newest project – an all encompassing development in Somerset West that sets new standards in South African community living.
Says Ian Odendaal, founder and director of Omnicron, “Property without people and passion is nothing. The team behind this development is committed to creating a place where people can live, play, work and enjoy life together.”
The development site lies on an historical piece of land that was once on the wagon road towards the Hottentots Holland Kloof (now Sir Lowry’s Pass). Its position just below the steep mountain slope deemed it the perfect stopover for travellers, and for decades it became famous as a haven for rest before the long trek over the pass.
Today, the area lies to the east of Somerset West on the left-hand side of the N2 highway as you approach Sir Lowry’s Pass. “The vision is to create another haven for the people of the eastern Helderberg region with a range of residential offerings, communal green spaces, waterways, a retail high street, office space, light industrial pockets, top security and much more,” comments Otto Wiehahn, managing director of Wiehahn.
Says Mark Teuchert, director of Lazercor, “We want to bring communities together and improve movement between Somerset West and surrounding areas. The emphasis is on creating a sustainable space that will be comfortable now, in ten years time and beyond.” He adds that excellent urban design is a priority. The team has been working with Comrie & Wilkinson Architects and Urban Designers to ensure three-dimensional urban design and move away from the box-style living that is so often seen in South Africa.
On security, Teuchert comments, “For a while, the need to be secure has created polarisation within South African communities. Our challenge is to establish a secure space while also depolarising people – this is where creative urban design comes in.”
Omwieco is looking to the future and giving back. Says Odendaal, “When we develop property, we should see it as loaning land from our children – we have to be answerable to them. Our team is striving to create a place where people want to be, as well as keeping the environment clearly in mind and establishing a biodiverse, friendly area.”
To sum up, Julian Leibman of Investec expressed the bank’s excitement at being involved and congratulated Omwieco on this original and forward-thinking project. “The next time we meet will be on site,” he concluded.
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