Majestically situated overlooking the Indian Ocean, but hidden away like a bygone treasure is St Elmos the Monastery that could celebrate its 100th birthday in new style, if the right buyer can be found to turn this historical landmark property into new uses, comments Rainer Stenzhorn, Marketing Director of In2assets Property Specialists.
St Elmo’s was erected in stages as from 1918 until 1939 as a Catholic convent which was used as a retreat for the nuns of the Third Order of St Dominic as well as a remedial school for children with learning disabilities. The Convent was forced to close down in 1994 due to the cut of government subsidies to institutions of such a nature.
The name of St. Elmo is attributed to an Italian derivation of Saint Elmo or St. Erasmus (circa 300 A.D.), the patron saint of the early Mediterranean sailors challenging the powers of storm and sea in small sailing vessels. Legend records that when a blue light appears at mastheads before and after a storm, the seamen took it as a sign of Erasmus’s protection. This was known as "St. Elmo's fire."
St. Elmo's fire has long served as an omen of heavenly intervention to sailors and the Towers of the Cathedral of St Elmos can be seen by passing ships and boats from far.
The property consists of 9501m² of various buildings of colonial architectural style situated on a footprint of ± 79.6 ha. The property has its own exclusive beach access with approximately 400 meters of beach front on the Indian Ocean.
The architecture of the church on St Elmos is typical of a historic floor plan of medieval times of the Catholic religion, even if the Church was only built in the last century. The layout is like a cross which means it became necessary to increase the space near the chancel which is situated at the top end of the cross with two side wings to accommodate large numbers of clergy, the choirs, or members of religious orders commented Stenzhorn further.
St Elmos is situated in Umzumbe approximately 100 km south of Durban in the province KwaZulu-Natal. Umzumbe Beach has an international “Blue Flag” rating.
Stenzhorn says, this unique property lends itself to become a Hotel Resort, Boarding School, Health care Facility or even a unique holiday resort which could easily match international standards with necessary renovations. The local municipality will welcome and support any efforts to rejuvenate St Elmos and its rich History.