BUILT NATURALLY: Intrepid property developer, Dr Mulder, creating another masterpiece at Crossways


Crossways Farm Village, located just off the N2 midway between Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay is being developed by Dr Chris Mulder, the same intrepid developer of the award winning Thesen Islands in Knysna.

Business Link Magazine recently met with him at the sales centre and restaurant of Crossways Farm Village to find out more about his latest undertaking. A few minutes into the meeting, it became obvious that Dr Mulder is one of those few people who are doing what they love best and whose passion and conviction always brings the desired results.

The magnificent Thesen Islands are connected by a narrow causeway to the rest of Knysna and on exiting this tenuous link, one is immersed in a sense of peace and tranquillity which is exactly the same feeling one has when entering the still partially developed Crossways Farm Village.

Anybody who has ever speculated in property knows that the three most important factors to consider with this type of investment are location, location and location. Crossways confidently ticks-off this trio. The scenery is magnificent, there is immediate access to the N2 and thus the rest of the Eastern Cape and the serenity of the area is in stark contrast to other rapidly built, clustered and typically impractical residential developments.

We asked Dr Mulder why he had opted for a Farm Village and not a Golfing Estate.

“Golfing Estates are notorious for their expense, poor environmental impact and expensive upkeep while farms offer the same tranquillity but employ more people, add to a country’s food security and are less expensive to maintain. They’re also better utilised for corporate social investment and community upliftment,” said Dr Mulder.

Crossways Farm Village falls under Ward 7 of the Kouga Local Municipality and the adjacent town of Thornhill has a population of 7 000. Dr Mulder estimates that about 700 people from this community will find permanent employment on his development.

In addition, with the assistance of the Department of Rural Development, a trust has been established to ensure that a percentage of all property sales revenue goes to the benefit of the local community.

“Our infrastructural investment will be in the region of R250 million over the next few years and once all the 740 homes as well as the shops, offices and other construction is complete, over R3.4 billion will have been invested into a community that is currently impoverished,” he added.

Investors, be they private home owners or the funders of development capital, are no doubt more concerned about ROI than rural development and will be pleased to know that, at the time of going to print, 98% of phase one of this project had been sold.

The ability, or rather, lack of ability, of municipalities to deliver the required services to their stakeholders constantly makes headlines around the country. Nelson Mandela Bay, whose city hall is just 40 km away from Crossways Farm Village, is a prime example, having just been placed under the care of provincial government, according to media reports.

This lack of service delivery often costs businesses and residents an unreasonably large amount of money and thus makes self-contained developments like Crossways Farm Village more and more popular.

Dr Mulder says, “Water harvesting and solar powered geysers will be compulsory for all buildings. Other green, eco-friendly and ‘off-the-grid’ options are optional and may be added later but it is compulsory to have conduits for these features built into the initial infrastructure.

“Adding deep cycle batteries and solar power a few years after a home is built will be made that much easier,” he added.

He further described, “All the road maintenance, refuse removal and other services will be tendered and contracted out to private businesses and will be paid from the communal levy.  This will ensure that our level of service is good and reasonably priced.”

Safety and security will receive a high priority and modern technology will be utilized to its full effect. Dr Mulder spoke about fingerprint technology, infrared and motion detectors and a host of other terms that this correspondent did not quite grasp.

The objective, Dr Mulder explained, was to ensure that community life is safe, happy and, well … communal.  Kids will be able to play freely and their toys left in the driveways - parents will need not worry.

In many respects, Crossways Farm Village is setting a president and will no doubt be benchmarked by future developments. Municipalities should pay attention to developments of this nature as they will help to alleviate the exponentially growing pressure placed on them by crumbling infrastructure, limited budgets and rapid population growth.