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Modderfontein New City in South Africa

The Modderfontein New City is a failed real estate megaproject in South Africa. Due to its promise to establish the “New York of Africa,” the New City, which was proposed in 2013 by Shanghai Zendai Property Ltd, a private Chinese real estate company, was introduced with great enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, the project was ultimately abandoned due to a lack of investor interest, opposition from the municipal government, and issues with investments in China. On the 1600 ha plot of land, the project was planned to be constructed over 15 years (to be finished in 2030), housing about 30,000 families and producing up to 200,000 fixed employment for the neighborhood.

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Reported in September 2014

Construction of US$ 7.66b new Modderfontein city in South Africa to start next year

Hong Kong-listed property development Group Shanghai Zendai will be constructing a US$ 7.66bn new Modderfontein City in South Africa starting next year. The project will comprise the construction of a university, schools, and a contemporary African gallery. Development of infrastructure, among them a Gautrain station planned for the next four to five years, is part of construction works awarded about US$ 273m.

The city will mainly host international residents, the local middle class, and pensioners, all about 100, 000 in number. The new Modderfontein City will join the list of Modderfontein’s nine functional zones. It will create 50, 000 jobs and it is expected that 1, 000 firms will use it. Local authorities have already received an application to declare the area an economic development zone, in readiness for the new Modderfontein City.

The new city will come about as a result of the need for access to information technology (IT) and integrated public transport systems. The CEO of Zendai Development South Africa Anthony Diepenbroek noted that this would be “the South African City of the Future”.

Zendai property group outlined its ambitions in April about the development of the 1 600 hectares, which would also offer mixed land use. The company bought the Modderfontein property for US$ 0.09bn last year from AECI, a South African explosives and chemical company.

Diepenbroek also noted that access to IT and cost-effective public transport would see Modderfontein develop into an urban center similar to the world’s major urban centers. Chinese investors have availed funding for the new Modderfontein City project, and Gauteng area authorities have endorsed the construction/development.

Diepenbroek noted further that by 2050, the population of the African continent will have doubled, making the continent home to 25% of the world’s population. The new Modderfontein City would, therefore, help ease population pressure.

The envisioned is a sustainable ‘smart city’ where cost-effective IT and public transport infrastructure will be made available. Information systems will be channeled to buildings in the city at relatively low costs. Dwellers will also have access to an integrated public transport system according to Diepenbroek.

“Our vision is that the new city will become a unique landmark that will transform Modderfontein into an international cosmopolitan asset with a cultural and art element,” said Dai Zhikang, the founder of Shanghai Zendai Investments.

When the new Modderfontein City is completed, it is expected to be home to 100 000 people offering commercial, retail, and residential developments.

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