Areas and Places

Blok to introduce a new range of urban homes

Forty on L, Blok Developers
An evening's view of Cape Town from one of the Forty on L apartments, developed by Blok.

Cape Town urban property developers, Blok, recently announced their latest product – Blok Raw, aimed at introducing a new range of urban homes in a new price band and new locations within Cape Town’s growing urban centre.

The Blok Raw concept was borne out of the rapid escalation of property prices since Blok’s inception in September 2014, coupled with a response to the need for more dynamic property offerings within the ever-expanding city. Says Jacques van Embden, Managing Director of Blok, “We wanted to introduce a product to the market that pushes the boundaries of the current narrow understanding of urban property offerings, particularly new residential developments. Blok Raw enables us to do that whilst exploring the other side of our design personality. That said, Blok Raw is still Blok in every way. Whilst it has a slightly edgier and more industrial aesthetic, hence the name, it still carries Blok’s signature staples of thoughtful design, third spaces, communal living and design innovation.”

The first Blok Raw development, FORTY ON L, will soon be launched. The site is currently a vacant piece of private land located on Lion Street in the Bo Kaap.

Blok has selected FORTY ON L as the development in which to not only unveil the new Blok Raw product, but also a new development model that they wish to pilot.

Dubbed the 80/20 model, it is built upon extensive local and international research and looks to adapt the current model to allow developers to deliver a more diverse mix of housing in well-located urban areas. This approach depends upon unlocking potential bulk on existing sites earmarked for development and, through this additional bulk, delivering a product that will be aimed at the middle income market and sold through an audited, open draw system.

Blok has named this the 80/20 model as the apartments in the originally planned-for scheme account for 80% of the total number of units and will subsidise the more affordable apartments that account for 20%. This will be achieved through the 80% absorbing the land costs as well as some of the associated planning and finance costs.

Van Embden says: “We are excited to be launching a first for Blok that responds to needs that are current and very real in today’s market – the lack of urban housing for a more diverse set of income ranges in well-located areas. As developers, we recognise that we have a role to play in contributing towards a more integrated, diversified and sustainable development trajectory.”

He continues: “The aim is to provide urban apartments that serve the currently uncatered-for middle income market by designing these into our planned development. Our goal with this project is to evolve a model that can be used to illustrate the potential role of developers in shaping our city and to create awareness around their ability to undertake similar projects that will begin to assist in contributing well-located urban housing that is targeted at this market.”

“Major cities, including New York, Toronto, Denver and Bogota, have adopted mixed-income housing models by implementing certain incentives, policies and legislation to ensure that more diverse income ranges can access new residential developments”.

It is an opportune time to have a conversation in Cape Town – matched with action – which explores the possibility for developers to using our zoning scheme to contribute to the long-term sustainable growth of the our city” comments Rashiq Fataar of Future Cape Town, a consultant to Blok on the 80/20 model.

“We need a more diversified product range within our cities that will encourage more people to participate in the urban opportunity that is so critical to its success. The objective is for more people to live in our urban centres” concludes van Embden.