Kerzner is about to take the reins at Inanda Club.

Posted On Tuesday, 03 June 2003 02:00 Published by
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Sol Kerzner's One&Only luxury resort group appears set to secure a 99-year lease over the entire 16ha Inanda Club property, which is just a few kilometres from Sandton and central Johannesburg.

By Ann Crotty

Johannesburg - Sol Kerzner's One&Only luxury resort group appears set to secure a 99-year lease over the entire 16ha Inanda Club property, which is just a few kilometres from Sandton and central Johannesburg.

And despite recently completed renovations, at a cost justified by the need to attract large functions, the homely clubhouse seems set to disappear. Its configuration is suddenly considered uneconomic.

Indications about the future of the lease and the clubhouse were provided by club chairman Frank Nightingale at an unusually raucous and well-attended annual general meeting last Monday.

He felt bound by confidentiality to disclose no details. But his reticence was met by loud interjections and demands for explanation.

Some members were prepared to await details of the Kerzner plan, provided they could approve or reject it at a general meeting.

Nightingale promised that this would be done. Others, led by former Anglo American Properties head Doug Hoffe, disputed that the committee had a mandate to negotiate with Kerzner at all.

It is now apparent that Kerzner's proposals are far more extensive than members had previously anticipated. Rather than a cluster of exclusive accommodation units on part of the vast property, the proposals appear to embrace all of the property. The clubhouse, stables as well as the polo and cricket fields, will have to fit in or fall out.

The sad reality for those who would like to hold on to the club is that over the past 10 years its operating losses have touched R20 million. In the past year alone the operating loss was R2 million.

The club's parlous finances open the way for Kerzner to make an offer. According to Nightingale, the price offered for the lease exceeds the market value of the land and members will be allowed privileged use, at discounted rates, of the super-luxury facilities that Kerzner intends to provide.

According to club rumour, Kerzner's designs are relatively small in scale but typically grand in concept. Taking the club's equestrian orientation as its theme, it will be the stopping-off point in Johannesburg for wealthy international tourists en route to Kerzner's One&Only game lodges.

At Inanda there will initially be about two dozen accommodation units complemented by areas for fine dining, a health spa and whatever luxury is expected by safari tourists of this ilk.

It is probably a done deal unless such Inanda potentates as Basil Hersov and Jonathan Oppenheimer can rescue the Hoffe faction with a better survival plan.


Publisher: Business Report
Source: Ann Crotty

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