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Clairwood Sale Advances

Clairwood Racecourse sold for R430 million

History Gone Forever. Clairwood has a long and proud history.

Durban’s 91-year-old Clairwood racecourse site looks set to be transformed into a new warehouse and distribution centre to service the new dig-out port at the old international airport.

The Mercury Newspaper reports that after months of speculation about the future of the racecourse, Capital Property Fund director Andrew Teixeira confirmed on Wednesday that the Gold Circle group had accepted his company’s offer to buy the racecourse for R430 million.

“We would like to develop a logistics park. With the dig-out port development our planning is around warehousing and distribution,” he said.

Teixeira said Capital Property Fund’s core business was property, so the racecourse had caught their attention because of its prime location next to the harbour and industrial area.

Gold Circle chairman Robert Mauvis said the sale had the blessing of its membership, although the deal still needed approval from the Competition Board.

However, the sale is also dependent on a successful re-zoning of the land and an environmental impact assessment, and local ratepayers and environmental groups signalled last night that the proposed new land use was likely to be opposed by them.

Mauvis said the racecourse would be leased to Gold Circle for the next two years as part of the agreement of sale, during which time the Greyville racecourse would be upgraded and improved.

“The track and condition of the Clairwood racecourse will of course be maintained during this period and we will move the stables. The two-year lease kickback works in our favour so that we can build new stables,” he said.

Teixeira said that after the two-year lease expired, it would take about a year for Capital Property Fund to fully develop the site.

According to the eThekwini Municipality’s development planning, environment and management department, the racecourse is zoned as “private open space”.

Mauvis said the application to the Competition Board could take between four weeks and three months to be approved.

“In my opinion, the transactions should all go through by the end of August. This is very exciting news for racing in the province… We will restructure the business and focus on two racecourses,” he said.

The new stables would be built at the Summerveld Training Centre.

Deserted. Clairwood's Grandstand is a tribute to a glorious past.

Gold Circle operates the Greyville and Clairwood Park racecourses in Durban and Scottsville in Pietermaritzburg. Mauvis said having three racecourses was no longer financially viable. “Having three racecourses is an expensive business; it is expensive to maintain a racecourse.”

The Clairwood property has been on the market for years. It caught the attention of developers because of its prime position near the South Durban Basin industries and the old airport.

Clairwood Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman Rishi Singh said it would oppose any industrial development on the racecourse site that added to the existing load of air pollution in the South Durban Basin area.

“The developers must consult residents before development takes place because the (South Durban Basin) is one of the most polluted areas in South Africa. Any development that involves carbon emissions would be detrimental to residents,” he said.

Singh said the association would also strongly oppose any development that attracted more trucks to the area and he called on the government to ensure that goods were transported via rail.

Desmond D’Sa, of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, indicated previously that the alliance would protest if Gold Circle sold the racecourse without consulting residents. The racecourse, built in 1921, was the only remaining large “green lung” in an area surrounded by petro-chemical and chemical industries.

Calshelf Investments 216, a subsidiary of Cavaleros, had offered to buy the prime plot for a price between R220m and R275m, depending on the time taken to conclude the deal.

But the Cavaleros group’s offer was countered by Capital Property Trust, a property unit trust established in 1984.

According to the company’s website, Capital Property Fund acquired Pangbourne Properties in March 2011 and has since become one of the largest property funds in SA, focusing on industrial and commercial projects. – The Mercury


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5 comments on “Clairwood Sale Advances

  1. Dean Bayley20 says:

    It wil be sad to see Clairwood removed from the racing calender as I have been fortunate to have witnessed some of the greatest horses of SA win at the track dating back to the early 70’s.I am now living in Saudi Arabia but still follow SA racing.

  2. Akesh says:

    If only this could be Scottsville – Clairwood is the best track in the country,Back in the day ,the maestro Terrence Millard endorsed it as such.Sad day

  3. mikesack says:

    The loss of the Garden Course is a tragedy and nothing can replace that little piece of paradise tucked away south of Durban.Those with a passion for racing will remember Sea Cottage’s sensational win in the Winter Handicap, The Main Man – Model Man stirring finish in the Mainstay and many other events like Wolf Power running unplaced in his last race .

  4. Frans says:

    Sad. Durban is going the same way as Johannesburg where they sold off race tracks that had a tremendous amount of history as well as suited to horses that don’t act as well at Turfontein. In the UK they keep the tracks going and it is just as expensive. But where others try to keep things going our clever guys are just getting rid of all and what is better? Nothing.   

  5. Hwitz says:

    anyone who has half a racing brain would ensure that clairwood stays unfortunately this current board by any means possible to them has bulldozed this whole deal through …the way gold circle is run will be a case study in 50 years time and the students who do study it will check their watches to see if it is april the first ….how in the 21st century can a billion rand business be run LIKE A BOWLING CLUB IS…the tragedy is  the current board wont be around to be accountable for their cock ups and the members who voted for the sale will be dead 

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