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The Vision

Imagine this: a sleek, immaculate building. 24-hour security controlled. Apartments furnished with décor and furniture recycled from Village N Life’s five-star luxury accommodations. More importantly, imagine housing that is only ten minutes from downtown Cape Town. The result? Royal Maitland 1.

 

Why Royal Maitland 1?

Certainly, it is no secret that Cape Town is facing a lack of housing.

As a result, many middle-income individuals are finding it difficult to find affordable places to stay. Even more challenging is finding housing close to workplaces. Staff are having to commute from locations such as Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha into town every day, each trip taking several hours by public transport.

Add to that train delays and cancellations, traffic, and minibus taxi strikes.

Consequently, employers are finding their staff frequently arriving late or missing work due to transportation issues.

The exterior and interior of the apartments at the Royal Maitland 1.

The Story

Previously, Village N Life used to run an enormous staff transport bill each month. Not only did this create a negative environmental impact, it meant staff were unhappy and tired from their long commutes.

After trying other solutions, VNL stumbled upon the innovative idea to provide staff housing opportunities that are affordable, desirable, and shorten the work commute drastically. Hence, a partnership with Club Resco to manage a set of apartments in Maitland.

Village N Life’s partnership with Club Resco began eighteen months ago with the first apartment in Royal Maitland 1. Since then, Club Resco has expanded to include 47 apartments, with 103 rentable units.

Club Resco works with the building body corporate and owners to manage the property, as well as renovate and furnish new apartments, and screen new tenants.

Royal Maitland 1 houses approximately twenty VNL employees. Staff working at The Bay Hotel, Camps Bay Retreat, Camps Bay Village, and soon, Waterfront Village. Because accommodation is going to be part of the employment package offered to some prospective employees, the number of tenants is set to increase with the summer season.

With an offer of accommodation, VNL properties can expect a higher quality of job applicants. As well, accommodation means better staff retention.

Village N Life is not the only employer with staff living at Royal Maitland One. There are also tenants who work at Clicks Head Office, City of Cape Town, and Allan Gray.

It doesn’t stop there. Shaun Slabber, secretary of VNL and a Club Resco investor says: “I know that if I put an ad up on Gumtree today, I am going to get 30 calls by this evening.”

But that’s not going to happen: part of what makes such a worthwhile investment is that tenants are carefully selected.

Selection process

Prospective tenants have to submit an application including reference checks to employers, friends, family and even community groups like churches. As well, budgeting education is a big part of the process. Club Resco helps to ensure that tenants are selecting the accommodation option that is truly affordable for them in the long-term.

Investors who Do Good

Investors in Club Resco include the directors of Village N Life.

So far how do the investors feel about the project?

“Very very happy,” says Shaun, a Club Resco investor himself. “Because the return includes knowing you are making an enormous difference in people’s lives.”

The Future – What’s Next?

“Everyone wants to know, ‘so when is Club Resco going to expand to the next site?’” says Shaun. “First going to make sure our systems and process are in place on the current site. But ultimately yes, we do want to expand in future”

Club Resco and Royal Maitland 1 have enormous and exciting implications for Village N Life and its staff as well as other corporate entities in Cape Town. But it also has the potential to have a broader impact, bringing workers closer to their workplaces and increasing their quality of life.

“It could change the whole dynamic of Cape Town.”

To find out more about Club Resco, visit their website: www.clubresco.com

An aerial view of the Royal Maitland 1 apartment buildings.