Sun International’s closed Carousel casino property up for sale

It’s doubtful the 583ha property will sell for as much as its municipal valuation of over R500 million.
Dusty relic or savvy property investment opportunity? The old Carousel casino complex has hit the market. Image: Supplied

Closed permanently since April, following the initial Covid-19 hard lockdown in March, Sun International’s once popular Carousel Casino complex in the North West is now up for sale.

According to Galetti Corporate Real Estate, which was appointed by the JSE-listed gaming and leisure group to handle the sale, there is no set asking price but the expansive property is expected to “sell upwards of R200 million”.

This is less than half of the property’s official municipal valuation of more than R500 million. However, the site is not being sold with the casino licence, therefore it’s unlikely to go for that much.

Read: Sun International to cut 3,300 jobs, swings to H1 loss

The Carousel, which opened in 1991 and became a popular entertainment hot spot and host of major boxing events, has not been profitable in recent years. Covid-19 dealt the final blow, with Sun International CEO Anthony Leeming announcing in April that the complex would be closed permanently, together with the Naledi Casino complex in the Free State.

Mothballed for over six months now, the property looks like a dusty relic of its former glory, based on photos sent to Moneyweb. But, Galetti CEO John Jack, believes the property represents a “scoop” for savvy investors.

“Steeped in a rich history since 1991, this popular entertainment centre and casino spans 583ha [including hotels, land and a retail section] and presents plenty of redevelopment opportunities,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“The property is a unique asset in that it actually needs two buyers, one being retail focused and the other a mid-tier residential developer, or alternatively we would look at a retirement estate given the game farm and other facilities on site,” Jack added.

He noted that the tourism and hospitality sector has faced significant pressure under the lockdown rules implemented by government.

Read:
North Coast’s iconic Fairmont Zimbali Hotel enters business rescue
Covid-19 recovery will take years – Tsogo Sun Hotels CEO

“This has seen marginal assets face closure or re-development. This has led to huge opportunity for investors with strong balance sheets to swoop in and buy well-positioned properties that need a second life,” he said.

Potential bidders have until the end of October to submit expressions of interest to Galetti on the property.

According to the group, LYT architects has also investigated and designed an entire scheme for the site, following a competitive tender that was run several years back with Group 5.

“With the casino site carrying a special zoning there are a number of alternative uses that the casino can be converted to, while the staff village must remain residential under the current zoning,” it noted.

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It is difficult to think that that place made so much money that it provided the cash to fund Sun City. But it was the era of the “Homelands” system. In SA you couldn’t gamble or watch porno movies at the time but just drive 56km north of Pretoria to the Carousel casino and you could do all this and more in the “free independent homeland”.

The days of my middle twenties and when I should have emigrated.

My (only) visit to the Carousel was in 1987, after my matric exams were completed.

Can recalled spending R100 there (which I kept as my disciplined spending limit). A hundred rand was A LOT of moolah in those days 😉

Took me 1-2 hours to “play it all back to the casino” *lol*

Sun International, I’m so sorry to’ve only visited once, and that 30+ years ago….RIP.

Yes, it was like in the “verkrampte” apartheidsjare us Vaalies (remember Gauteng did not exist) the few available legal escapes to proper sinning *lol*
At the time it felt like SA’s version of Californians driving through the desert to reach Las Vegas 😉

Indeed a bygone era of Ford Capris, Toyota Coronas, Datsun Laurels & Mazda Capellas…and the VW Kombi (…the latter, which task is filled by today’s ubiquitous double cab bakkies) 😉

Carousel was opened in 1991, not 1987. You are sure you didn’t go to Morula Sun?

@Dss. Point taken…Morula Sun is near Mabopane. I think my “memory clock” must’ve been out by a few years *lol* Been to both, around same era of stovepipe jeans and aviator sunglasses that were in fashion.

My car examples also…was out by a few years: it should’ve read Toyota Cressidas, Nissan Skylines & Ford Sierras 😉

The Carousel was already scaled back somewhat in the early 2000s, if memory serves…this was inevitable.

I would not be surprised if one of our tender billionaires did not pick up this bargain and turn it into a home for himself.

Very good thought.

It still amazes me how SARS did not detect the millions or billions going to some people.

Doing provisional or yearly tax is such mission for me.

How did they do their tax?

Now that’s a good question! I suspect the answer would be ” what do you mean, do my tax?”

End of comments.

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