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Sun International invests R295m in Sun City timeshare expansion

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Construction has commenced on the first phase of a new R295 million expansion of Sun International’s Sun Vacation Club (SVC) timeshare product, at the group’s Sun City resort near Rustenburg in the North West province.

Called Lefika Villas, the first phase expansion will add 58 luxury three- and four-bedroom villas to the Sun Vacation Club, plus a recreational area with a resort pool, family restaurant and children’s play area.

Lefika Villas will be able to accommodate up to 400 additional guests, with additional units increasing the Sun Vacation Club at Sun City to 478 units.

Sun International CEO Anthony Leeming said it is experiencing significant demand for Sun Vacation Club accommodation at Sun City and this expansion will help satisfy this demand.

“We are confident that this development will achieve above-market returns,” he said.

The expansion represents the group’s first significant expansion at Sun City since 2004, when it developed The Aviary, the second accommodation offering introduced at the Sun Vacation Club.

‘Expanded masterplan’

During a Wednesday night briefing on the new expansion, Sun International chief operating officer for hospitality Graham Wood said that the birth of Lefika Villas,

“… is only but a phase of an expanded masterplan for this resort.”

Sun International development manager Mark Pitchers said the group has about R1.1 billion in projects across the Sun City resort that are currently underway.

Pitchers said Lefika Villas is the first of a two-phase expansion at Sun Vacation Club.

The second phase, called Sun Central, will have a different target market and be developed where the staff village is currently located, which will be demolished.

Pitchers said this second phase will comprise about 200 two- and three-bedroom units and, subject to approval from Sun International’s board, the project will commence in January 2023 and be completed in December 2024.

Sun Vacation Club group general manager Janita Donaldson said the two phases of this expansion will cost about R850 million, with Lefika Villas accounting for R295 million of the total and the second phase expansion the balance.

But Donaldson stressed that the second phase of the expansion project has not been confirmed yet.

“The success of Lafika Villas will drive the second phase [expansion]. It will be demand driven and depend on the success of the first phase,” she said.

Pitchers added that Sun International has a masterplan that will allow for an additional 10 four-bedroom villas, which will also be demand driven and undertaken if there is uptake and they are sold out.

He said the principal building contract for the Lefika Villas project has been awarded to JSE-listed construction and engineering group WBHO, while Jodan Construction had been awarded the civil engineering contract.

Surrounding communities at Sun City will benefit from upliftment and skills transfer projects, with a stipulated 30% build value to be allocated to local contractors.

Pitches said the earthworks contract will be completed by 15 November 2022, with the Lefika Villas units handed over in a phased completion process.

“We are predicting 15 October to 21 November 2023 as a phased handover,” he said.

Pitchers said the R1.1 billion in projects at Sun City comprises:

  • The R208 million refurbishment of the about 320 bedrooms at The Palace, which commenced at the beginning of 2021 and will be completed in November 2022.

  • The addition of a spa and gymnasium at The Palace.

  • The complete makeover of the exclusive Salon Privé in the Sun City Hotel.

  • The R850 million two-phase expansion of Sun Vacation Club.

Leeming said Sun City remains perennially popular and post the Covid-19 pandemic it has seen an increase in demand from leisure, conference and sporting guests.

“We have invested significantly in the property and the resort is in great condition,” he said.

Wood said Sun Vacation Club currently has 384 units and 26 000 owners and runs at very high occupancies.

“We have spent a lot of time working on the design development of these [Lefika Villas] units to give our current and new owners something uniquely special.

“They are definitely positioned in the luxury segment of this industry because we understand that is where the demand is currently, given the dynamics of our economy,” he said.

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