Sale of Cool Runnings sets foundation for Mellville’s Regeneration

In its day, 7th Street in Mellville buzzed with Cool Runnings and Roxy’s Rhythm Bar and was known as the trendy and vibrant center of Johannesburg’s Bohemian life. In fact, even the popular bi-lingual soap opera, 7de Laan uses snapshots of 7th Street in its opening credits. However, the area suffered a great knock during the economic downfall. Coupled with an increase in crime and theft, Mellville was left abandoned and neglected, shifting its focus to the students (and gangs) who populated the area.

CEO of Investicore, Dawie Swart, is a visionary in redeveloping and revitalizing previously dilapidated areas such as Salt River (CT), Randburg, Jeppestown, Linden and now Mellville. Together with property finance and development company Construct Capital, they have bought the buildings and are adamant on returning Mellville to its former glory.

Perfectly situated close to the CBD and both the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg, the buildings on the corner of 4th & Main Roads Mellville are to be redeveloped to incorporate affordable residential apartments, including a retail and commercial component.

There are 18 apartments (both 1 & 2 beds) with rentals starting from R5500 per month.

“Demand for affordable housing for South Africa’s low and middle income earners as well as the students within the vicinity is superseding supply, with industry experts predicting that the asset class has excellent growth potential. This growth puts pressure on affordability for tenants, however by living in convenient locations such as Mellville, they begin to substitute money previously allocated to travel to pay for the high rentals. Even though rental demand is increasing, affordability is decreasing.” says Construct Capital’s Bryce O’Donnell.  This is a brave move by Investicore, who are investing heavily in the area. ”

Funders are weary of funding developments in areas such as this, preferring to focus on more established nodes. This cautiousness increases the barrier to entry for these types of projects, making the returns better for those that are able to do these deals. Additionally, many don’t see the value in investing in these projects as they cannot mitigate enough of the risk.” Adds O’Donnell

Comments Dawie Swart, “I am passionate about creating something new and helping to redevelop these forgotten areas that have extreme potential and with the expertise that Construct Capital bring to the table, it allows me the freedom to search for new nodes to develop as I know all the current projects are being delivered to the highest standards.”

Together Investicore and Construct Capital plan to regenerate Melville to its former cosmopolitan days where it rivaled the likes of Parkhurst and surrounding areas.

The development is expected to be completed in October 2017