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TAKE A LOOK | Arlington Racecourse sold for R26m and will be turned into housing estate
Luke Daniel , Business Insider SA
Arlington Racecourse in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) has sold at auction for R25.7 million to a “Durban-based” consortium. The land is expected to be developed into a residential area, while funds from the sale will go towards Phumelela Gaming and Leisure’s business rescue process.

The auction of the 62 hectares of land, dubbed as a “once-in-a-lifetime development opportunity” by Broll Auctions, was completed on Friday morning. Bidding started at R10 million and as the price rose to the upper teens, it was reported that a “bidding war” evolved between a Johannesburg-based investor and a Durban group. The latter ultimately secured the auction.

“It’s a prominent Durban consortium that bought it and they were competing against an investor from Johannesburg,” says Ismail Hendricks, group auctioneer for Broll Auctions, adding that buyer’s identity would likely be made public at a later stage.

“Their plans are to build a residential estate there.”

Situated between Walmer Heights and Milkwood Estate, roughly 7.7km from Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport, Arlington Racecourse hosted thousands of horse races since it was founded in 1950.

Support for Arlington began to dwindle in the early 2000s, as horse trainers opted for the better-equipped Fairview Racecourse, which is 30km inland. In 2007, Fairview completed the construction of a new stabling complex.

Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, the country’s largest horse racing and tote betting operator, owned Arlington but has its regional headquarters at Fairview. Arlington’s last horse race was run in 2013 and was preceded by Phumelela’s last-ditch attempts to offload the property to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Africa Race Group (ARG).

The latter resulted in a protracted legal battle, which ultimately led the Public Protector to investigate former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste as a key shareholder in Phumelela Gaming and Leisure. Costly court battles and dwindling revenue led Phumelela to enter voluntary business rescue in May 2020.

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