Posh project to rise on former coloured land
Half a century after coloured families were removed from Sea Point, on Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard, the dust has finally settled.
A Supreme Court of Appeal ruling this week gave the green light to a R750m "ultra-luxury development" of up to eight storeys being built where 100 families once lived.
The judgment in favour of Bantry Hills - where Fabiani founder Jeffrey Fabian and former Auction Alliance CEO Rael Levitt are directors - ends protracted litigation instigated by US businessman Allen Tavakoli.
He owns three properties in the area, including a guesthouse about 80m from the proposed building site.
Tavakoli said the development would increase traffic and block views, harming his business.
In 2016, the high court in Cape Town interdicted the developers from raising parts of the building "above the ground-floor slab" pending Tavakoli's application to review the plans. Bantry Hills had already spent R56.8m on the project, and told the court it would lose R21.6m in contractors' standing time, escalating costs and finance charges.
The high court dismissed Tavakoli's application in April last year, and construction resumed. According to the judgment, Bantry Hills was due to be completed in August. Tavakoli took the fight to the appeal court, which dismissed his case and ordered him to pay the developers' legal costs.
This week, Tavakoli vowed to take the matter to the Constitutional Court, hitting out at the "corrupt" South African justice system and at "the Jewish members of our community".
"This was a land claim, it was meant to be housing for disenfranchised South Africans. [Instead] it was sold at R28,000/m²," he said. "It is madness."
Mike Flax, a Bantry Hills shareholder, told the Sunday Times at the beginning of the litigation that "views are not a protected right in any constitution or any planning process". He said the development complied with height restrictions in the area.
Coloured families were evicted from the Tramway cottages in Sea Point under the Group Areas Act and banished to the Cape Flats. The land was turned into a park.
The Tramway Road Community Trust lodged a successful land claim that took 15 years to resolve. Only 34 families chose to have their land back and the rest were paid out.
Bantry Hills snapped up the land for R51m at an auction about five years ago and commenced with a development that it said would consist of "60 uniquely designed apartments already being sold to international buyers, with an average value of R12m".
The company said it would comprise five blocks surrounding luxury facilities.