Central upgrades a boost for suburb

IT HAS once again become trendy to live in Central.

With the popularity of Richmond Hill growing among young professionals, a move by the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) to upgrade the Bird Street and Belmont Terrace precinct to the amount of R21-million is starting to pay off.

With the first phase of the upgrade of the area to be completed in June, the residential property market is also seeing a huge uptick. Rubé Geyer of KG Property Solutions said young professionals are once again moving to "central Central" with a renewed interest in this part of the city. It took Geyer less than four months to rent and sell 30 units of the trendy Lampenhof apartment block, just off Bird Street in Annerley Terrace.

The previously rundown block of flats, missing a roof that burnt down, was bought by an Eastern Cape developer two years ago through Geyer, who started marketing the renovated units in November of the same year. About half of the one, two and three-bedroomed apartments were rented out by the developer, while the other half of the apartments were sold to investors who now rent them out.

"Only young professionals live in the building and the managing agent is Jack Allers. The investor will soon be reselling a few of the units at only R10 000 more than the launch price, which will be starting at R395 000 for the one-bedroomed units.

"The finishes in the units are very modern with ceramic tiles, parquet flooring as well as oven and hobs in the kitchens," Geyer said. Tenants also have the option to own a garage or parking bay inside the security-fenced apartment block, which is access- controlled with a secure cellphone code. Geyer said especially young legal professionals jumped at the opportunity to live so close to the High Court and legal firms in the area.

MBDA planning and development manager Dorelle Sapere said the upgraded area is rich in history.

"There are many iconic heritage buildings in and around this precinct such as the recently renovated Athenaeum Building and the PE Club and many Port Elizabeth citizens have fond memories of living or working in the area," Sapere said.