Let’s just agree on this: when we think of Mauritius, we typically think of beautiful beaches and relaxing by the water. Smart cities usually aren’t something that comes to mind – or really any cities at all. So, it might sound a bit strange to hear large amounts of money are being invested in just that.
Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager, Vantage Capital, has announced that it has provided US$10 million of mezzanine funding to Cap Tamarin, a mixed-used, residentially-focused “smart and happy” village located on the west coast of Mauritius, in a seaside village called Tamarin. The idea is for Cap Tamarin to be an integrated “work, live and play” environment that is “technology-focused, intelligent, innovative and sustainable.”
Ok, so money has been invested. But things really are happening on the sun-kissed ground, as Cap Tamarin has already received Smart City Scheme certification from the Mauritian government.
On completion, the Cap Tamarin development will span more than 400,000 square metres, and will include residential units made up of a combination of apartments, homes for people of an advanced age and/or with specific medical requirements, villas, and individual houses. A key attraction will be a 40,000 square metre landscaped park facilitating direct access to the Tamarin Beach and lagoon.
But those are just some of the physical buildings. The “smart” part will be executed through a range of public services such as schools, a smart citizen advice office, a post office, and cultural and innovation centres. The innovation centre is key, as plans are for it to be used by start-ups, SMEs, and research-based organisations. The development will also expand on the existing commercial office and retail spaces.
The investment in Cap Tamarin is Vantage Capital’s eighth transaction in Fund III – a US$280 million fund. It’s also the 26th major transaction by Vantage across three generations of mezzanine funds.
Warren van der Merwe, chief operating officer of Vantage, says there are big hopes for the Mauritian smart city development. Zaheer Cassim, associate partner at Vantage, agrees. “Tamarin is an old fishing village that is to be transformed in an environmentally-sensitive manner into a well-planned residential area. The village is surrounded by hills in the east and the beach on the west with the Tamarin River running through it and represents an ideal location for a development of this nature.”
Georges Talbotier, director of Cap Tamarin, says: “This partnership rewards the achievement of several milestones in Cap Tamarin’s development plan. Supplemented by bank financing and sales, the entry of Vantage Capital as a reference investor, will boost the realisation of the project.”
Ok, so a smart city in Mauritius. Let’s address the elephant in the room: wouldn’t we all want to spend a while living and working in paradise? They even have their own music ambassador.