The Silicon Valley Counterfeit of the Garden Route Is Now Truly Dead and Buried

Farm 195, formerly known as Destiny Africa (Image provided: Galetti Corporate Real Estate)

  • The Destiny Africa project was meant to be a smart city, mimicking Silicon Valley on a 437 hectare site outside of George.
  • He received the backing of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille in 2009.
  • But the ambitious project, which was to include a city of knowledge, a business park, a university center and around 7,000 housing units, did not see the light of day.
  • More than a decade later, the property was sold to a private developer amid the liquidation of Destiny Africa investors.
  • Although details of the buyer and the amount paid are scarce, it is likely that the land will be used for a development, with retail and office space not out of the question.
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A plot of land outside George, along South Africa’s Garden Route, was to be transformed into a smart city, combining business, learning and leisure. But the ambitious plan never materialized and the property has now been sold to an anonymous developer with not quite so lofty ambitions.

The Destiny Africa project was to “contribute significantly to the South African economy in the same way as California’s Silicon Valley”, Helen Zille, then premier of the Western Cape, announced in 2009.

Originally valued at over R28 billion, the project was to feature world-class conferences, a knowledge city, a business park, a university hub, medical and biosphere tourism and around 7,000 residential units.

This ‘ecosphere’ would occupy a 437 hectare site on the outskirts of George, giving a boost to the greater Garden Route region of the Western Cape and creating some 50,000 direct and indirect jobs over 10 years, according to Destiny Africa Investments Holdings .

But the project struggled to attract investors as its estimated value quickly soared to around R45 billion within a few years of receiving initial backing from Zille. A decade-long lull followed, with the Destiny Africa project, passing between various developers, all unable to innovate, remaining a pipe dream.

The final nail in Destiny Africa’s coffin came earlier in 2022 when its investors were finally liquidated, and Galetti Corporate Real Estate was appointed to dispose of the land. The property went on the market through a sealed bidding process in August. Galetti confirmed on Tuesday that the sale of “the asset officially known as Destiny Africa” ​​has been completed.

“I can’t tell you yet who the buyer is and how much has been paid. We will release that information once the transfers are completed,” Wesley Cowan, managing partner at Galetti who oversaw the deal, told Business Insider South. Africa.

The new owners of the land outside George are residential developers, Cowan revealed, and most of the properties would likely be for housing. “Along with this there are pockets of land that allow for commercial and industrial type developments [and] maybe a few desks,” Cowan said.

“There are beautiful views from up there [too]so i think you could potentially see some kind of hospitality [development].”

In the meantime, the buyers would work closely with the Municipality of George to finalize the appropriate zoning and development phases.

“It’s just about how they phase that development and how the developers approach it,” Cowan said.

“I think that’s where the Destiny Africa guys fell down is that they just tried to do too much at once, and I don’t think the infrastructure of the city can handle it all. at a time.”

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