Dreamworld project takes off

Posted On Monday, 16 February 2004 02:00 Published by
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Gearing up: province and city to help fast-track development, from rezoning to infrastructure

Impti du toit

Property Writer

Construction of Dreamworld, the proposed Hollywood-style film studio in Faure, is set to go ahead, with local government having given the developers the nod to proceed with the project last week..

Kurt Gouwsventer, regional manager of JHI Real Estate in Bell-ville, who sold the land, said the Dreamworld consortium had purchased the 194ha site on an option and sale basis in September 2002, and had been awaiting the outcome of the Western Cape provincial government's call for proposals to build a film studio in Cape Town.

Gouwsventer said that 13 potential investors had submitted proposals, and by late last year the government had whittled these down to three bidders.

Last Friday the province confirmed that Dreamworld, of which South African producer and director Anant Singh is the chairman, was the preferred bidder.

Gouwsventer said it was important to have the government's support on the R450-R500 million project, as it would assist in fast-tracking regulatory aspects such as rezoning, and ensure that the infrastructure, including pipes, roads and electricity, could be put in place on the site as quickly as possible.

The province and the City of Cape Town will contribute R60 million in this respect over the next three years, as the film industry in the Western Cape is worth R2 billion a year.

Last Friday's announcement brought to a close the protracted negotiations that have surrounded the sale of the land - a portion of the Vergenoegd wine estate owned by the Faure family.

Gouwsventer said plans for construction of the film studio had begun seven years ago, when he had received a call from Mike McCarthy, a member of the Dreamworld consortium, asking him to source an ideal site for the project.

His brief was that the location should comprise 80ha to 100ha of land in beautiful surroundings in the Western Cape, with potential for expansion.

Another major requirement was that it should be convenient to Cape Town International Airport and the Cape Town CBD, placing it within easy reach of future clients and the labour force, said Gouwsventer.

He added that Vergenoegd Farm met all these requirements and more. The property is located at the gateway to the Cape's famous winelands on the western side of the R300, yet it is close enough to accommodate the requirements of all the parties concerned.

While the site is currently zoned as agricultural land, the seller Jac Faure said the land was not fertile enough for wine growing, and he had therefore made the decision to sell in 1997.

Gouwsventer said that construction of Dreamworld Film City, as the studio will be named, is likely to begin in early 2005.

Publisher: Weekend Argus
Source: Weekend Argus

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