Developer turns to US to sell upmarket flats

Posted On Tuesday, 19 January 2010 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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The developer of the upmarket Furstenburg Grand in Nahoon has turned to overseas investors after failing to sell dozens of flats in the pricey development.



Recessionary blues have been blamed for the slow uptake of apartments after property developer Grant Furstenburg spent R60 million building luxury units on the site of the old Dolphin Hotel.

Now Furstenburg wants moneyed Americans to use the benefit of the dollar-rand exchange rate and spend anything up to R5.5million on luxury flats that have proved out of reach for most local buyers.

The apartment block, which is not yet finished, has 67 units in total. Just over half have been sold.

“I went to the USA on business. I took the trip in December to sell the balance of the units to American companies,” said Furstenburg on Monday.

He said the favourable exchange rate for foreigners made a lot of sense for him to pursue investors in America.

“It’s peanuts when you make the conversion. The balance (of outstanding units) is about 40 percent of the building. If something stands (empty) it costs a lot of money.

“If it stands for another year, at the end of the day there is interest attached to it.

"Presently we’ve got two companies. For instance if one of them takes all the units we could negotiate a discount of R5m.

"There’s one company in Jo’burg and the other is an overseas company.”

Transfer of the first units sold was to take place in December last year.

The average price for each flat is about R1.5m, or around R23 000 a square metre.

Furstenburg also rubbished claims he was planning to leave the country at the end of March to emigrate to the USA, describing the allegations as “ludicrous”.

“I don’t know who told you that. At the end of the day the problem with East London is that people make rumours because they are bored with their own lives.

“One can easily do a check to see if I have applied to leave. It’s ludicrous really.

“People in East London don’t like to see success, they want to see failure. If you remember, they said I would never get off the ground and I got off the ground.

“People need to get their facts right,” he added.

Gonubie property agent Sandy Schwedhelm said the Furstenburg Grand situation was understandable because the high-end market was struggling in general.

“I don’t know much about the Furstenburg Grand, but the high end is definitely struggling.

“But the industry did pick up at the end of last year. “We’ve been hectically busy in the past two weeks.

“People with money are now picking up good deals,” said Schwedhelm of Rencon Real Estate.

She said properties under R1.5 million were selling pretty well.

“Just the other day we sold a holiday home worth R3.5 million. In general the market has picked up,” she said.

Last modified on Monday, 10 March 2014 17:17

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