Inanda Club divided over Kerzner proposal.

Posted On Wednesday, 16 July 2003 02:00 Published by
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One&Only plans to build low-rise hotel on elite grounds.
Property Reporter

 MEMBERS of the elite Inanda Club in northern Johannesburg are divided over the fate of the stately old clubhouse, should a deal go through with hotel and casino magnate Sol Kerzner's One&Only luxury resort group, which wants to build a country house-style hotel in the grounds.

 The Kerzner group has reportedly offered the club R25m for the rights to build a luxury boutique hotel in its grounds. The land required would take up less than 20% of the club's remaining 19ha of green belt.

 Inanda Club, which has suffered substantial losses over the past 10 years, has already sold off land to ease its financial problems. About three years ago it sold a chunk along its northern border for R35m to Tiber Construction and Bridgeport, for office development.

 This resulted in the loss of the showjumping arena and the sport's premier event for many years, the Dunhill Derby.

 The big question is: where would the hotel be built on the site of the clubhouse, or elsewhere on the shrinking property?

 Club spokesman and captain of the Inanda Club's polo team Sam Mattock says the One&Only group had expressed an interest in building a hotel where the existing clubhouse stands.

 This would entail demolishing the clubhouse and building a new one elsewhere in the grounds, which include a cricket field and pavilion, a polo field, stables, tennis courts and bowling greens.

 There is also a birds of prey rehabilitation centre, partly sponsored by club members.

 Mattock says some members do not want to lose the clubhouse, which was built in 1934, while others are in favour of it being pulled down "to give the club a fresh start".

 These views were expressed at a recent club strategy committee meeting. Mattock says the committee is formulating a strategy on the way forward, based on members' viewpoints and concerns.

 Discussions with One&Only are continuing, and no decisions have been made.

 "The Inanda Club feels that if it is in the best interest of the club, we would be in favour of One&Only building a small boutique hotel on the grounds, because we feel it will be mutually beneficial to the One&Only chain and our members," Mattock says.

 He says the clubhouse has a "lot of atmosphere, heart, soul and beautiful gardens. It embodies what a country club should be." There are other areas in the grounds suitable for the hotel.

 The Inanda Club has two bases a country base in Kyalami where "hunts" with hounds are held regularly, and the main club in Inanda, where most of the club's activities take place, including polo. Mattock says members want polo to remain at the town club.

 Bruce Hutchison, MD of One&Only resorts in southern Africa, says: "The way we would like to go forward is to find approval with all concerned the membership, local ratepayers and other residents of Inanda.

 "We would also like to meet the aims and aspirations of the city council. There is no way One&Only would force anyone to accept a hotel," he said.

 He says that the group fully understands that the Inanda Club has a "history and culture", and would like to build a low-rise country-house hotel that has "an equestrian atmosphere".

 "One&Only doesn't just build hotels. We sculpture them according to the site's history and culture. We want a sense of place. One of the things that attracts us to Inanda is that it is an equestrian centre in the middle of town," Hutchison says.

       
    Jul 16 2003 07:59:16:000AM Nick Wilson Business Day 1st Edition

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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