An offer from Ster Kinekor allowed him to buy the 16 ha of land that the flea market is situated on and led him into property development.
Matheson is currently selling units off plan for the second phase of his four-phase development.
Engineering News spoke to him about being a first-time developer.
“Usually, first-time developers start off with a smaller-scale development, often about four to five units,” he says.
But his is a 33-unit development.
He points out that the initial costs are borne by the developer for up to two years, until permission to start selling is received.
Phase one of the development, Prima Vista Estates, came on the market in the middle of 2003, when Matheson started advertising units with three or four bedrooms, a lockup double garage and 24-hour security for between R700 000 and R1-million.
The second phase went on the market in the middle of last year for between R886 000 and R1,25-million.
Matheson explains that, at the time he started the development, housing prices were not at current levels, and he bore the brunt of initial costs due to lower profits.
Serendipity intervened and bureaucratic bungles with the first town planner led to a delay – and an improvement – in the market.
Matheson explains that town planning started about two years ago.
While the process was uncomplicated, it proved to be a learning curve, he says.
To develop the land, it first had to go through a process to change the use to residential from farming, and conditions imposed by the city council had to be fulfilled.
After that, the township can be proclaimed and selling starts – two years after the date of the first application.
“Some of the land was donated to City Parks for use as a park and other land had to be used for an attenuation structure to slow down the release of water into a nearby river.
“The land was always too big for just a market, and I noticed that the areas surrounding it were being developed as residential areas, so it was really a natural progression,” says Matheson.
Construction of phase one, now completely sold out, started in August 2003.
The 2-ha site holds 33 units of between 500 m2 and 600 m2 each.
Phase two, currently under construction, is a 5-ha site and will comprise 67 units of the same size.
The third phase is planned for where the market is located at present.
“We will have to move the market, as it is our core business.
“We have, in the meantime, applied to the council for conditions of establishment for phase three.” This phase, comprising 70 units on 7 ha, will only come onto the market if prices are favourable.
The fourth phase is to be a retirement village and will be located across the river from the main development.