A new ‘agri-village’ residential concept is taking South Africa by storm with the first of its kind taking shape in the form of Crossways Farm Village in the Eastern Cape. The concept was introduced by acclaimed local developer Dr Chris Mulder who says agri-villages represent a return to old fashioned, village style living underpinned by sophisticated infrastructure.
Crossways is being constructed on an existing Holstein stud dairy farm at the Van Stadens River Bridge on the N2 to Port Elizabeth. It was designed by property development group CMAI and launched in November 2010 by the Crossways Farm Village Development Company. To put CMAI’s experience into perspective, the group designed Thesen Islands, Pezula Golf Estate and the Banyan Tree Ocean Estate in the Seychelles amongst others.
Crossways will cover an area measuring 560 hectares and the built out development will inject R3, 4bn into the local economy. Almost half of the 170 stands in the first phase of the development’s Castle Ridge node were sold within a week of the launch in 2010. According to Marianne Coetzee, the shareholder managing the sales process, the first phase is now 70% sold out and construction will commence within the next few weeks with the first two show houses being ready for viewing in January 2012.
In terms of modern amenities, Crossways will feature its own school, hotel, clinic, shopping centre, stables and sports facilities. A small portion of land appropriately dubbed ‘The Workshop’ has also been allocated alongside the N2 for light industry which ideally would complement the farm’s artisanal/ agricultural activities. State-of-the-art security and a fibre-optic network will also be integrated into the development.
On the agricultural side, homeowners will be given the option of owning their own cows (which will be managed by the farm). Owners will also be given the opportunity to buy shares in the farm’s fruit and vegetable operations and will even be able to make their own dairy products at the soon to be extended dairy should they feel so inclined. The upgraded dairy will span some 170 hectares, house 500 cows; include new pastures and a state-of-the-art milking parlour. A portion of the daily dairy products derived from the dairy will be sold directly back to Crossways’ residents.
Sustainability and an eco-friendly stance are key to the Crossways concept. Approximately 170 hectares has been set aside as a conservation area, energy efficient materials and protocols will be used wherever possible and rainwater will be harvested from the rooftops of the larger houses.
Other initiatives include, amongst others, the eradication of invasive alien trees, the wood of which will be used for street lamp posts, fences and garden furniture. Solar water geysers will be utilised, recycling will be employed and a sewerage treatment plant will feed into a manmade wetland and bird reserve.
Those seeking to own a piece of this rustic haven will be able to choose from a variety of freehold property types ranging from affordable starter homes at the Castle Ridge node to small, luxury farms at the Farmsteads. Crossways’ architectural guidelines follow distinct farm orientated lines and all properties will radiate out from the town square where the bulk of Crossway’s facilities and services as well as a marketplace will be located. Plot prices currently range from R220 000 to R750 000. Upon completion, Crossways will encompass 733 properties and operate as a municipality unto itself.
Commenting on Crossways, Dr Mulder was quoted as saying: “Central to the concept is that the village must accommodate a wide spectrum of the community. It is not a golf estate in a different guise that caters to the needs of high-income individuals, but a proper village like those that existed in years gone by in our rural areas and where everyone formed part of the community.”
Response to Crossways has reportedly been so positive that plans to introduce another agri-village in Bloemfontein is on the cards.