With major developments underway in and around Durban, the city known as South Africa’s playground will soon be attracting more interest from investors and business owners.
If you're considering renting Durban office space, the two hottest areas to consider are Durban North and the Greater Central Durban area.
In keeping with a national trend of decentralisation, many businesses moved out of Durban's CBD in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and commercial nodes developed in other areas. Key among these nodes today is Durban North. It includes Umhlanga/La Lucia Ridge, Mount Edgecombe, Briardine, Springfield Park and the Riverhorse Valley Business Estate.
The Lucia Ridge Office Estate is situated near Gateway, the fourth largest shopping centre in the country. It has become Durban’s premier decentralised office location. On a hill overlooking the sea, the area has attracted several blue-chip and financial companies, among them Deloitte & Touche, Alexander Forbes, Ernst and Young, Cell C and Unilever.
The popularity of Lucia Ridge Office Estate led to high rental rates and even office space shortage. The result was that land lower down the hill, in Umhlanga and Durban North, was adapted to suit office purposes.
With its sea views, nearby residential suburbs and quick access to the uShaka International Airport, it’s easy to see why Durban North is a prime office location.
Greater Central Durban
Greater Central Durban includes the Berea/Umbilo fringe surrounding Khuzimphi Shezi Road (formerly Williams Road). This is being touted as a new cultural precinct. It's host to the popular Red Eye Art events, as well as being home to Andries Botha’s art studios and the architecturally striking Sugar Terminals.
The great thing about this part of town is its easy access to Durban's CBD, which is slowly showing signs of regeneration. This is thanks to the urban renewal project nicknamed iTrump (Inner City Thekwini Regeneration and Urban Management Programme).
Propertuity CEO, Jonathan Liebmann, the man behind the Maboneng Precinct success story of Johannesburg, has worked with the eThekweni municipality on the urban redevelopment project called The Rivertown Precinct, between the Durban International Convention Centre and the beachfront.
This greater Central Node incorporates the leafy suburbs just above Khuzimphi Shezi Road, including Glenwood (where the University of KwaZulu-Natal is based) and the upmarket Musgrave area.
Also a short drive away is the Point Precinct, at the entrance to Africa’s busiest port. A decade ago it was considered an unsavoury part of town. Since then, development of the uShaka Marine World entertainment complex and renovation of the beachfront promenade have transformed the precinct, with upgraded roads and waterways now leading to high-end apartment blocks, hotels and offices.
What's in store for Durban businesses?
Further development plans for Durban are in the pipeline and are likely to attract even greater property interest. In an article for IOL, Naledi Moyo-Ndwandwe, the deputy city manager for sustainable development and city enterprise, said the current and immediate projects would be completed by 2016, while the second phase would continue until 2019. The uShaka development should be completed by 2025.
“The improvement to uShaka will blow you away,” she said. “The whole Point precinct will become a key theme/water park attraction.” Plans include luxury hotels and malls, a skyscraper, residential apartments and office parks.
As Herman Chalupsky, of Chalupsky Properties, told Business Day, "We are very excited because this will be the most sought-after area in all of Durban. The office space will double in the next three months as Ithala Development Bank and the Lion Match company will move their headquarters here."
All in all, the outlook is good for businesses based in Durban.
About XtraSpace's Durban branches
Located near the M4 highway and minutes from Durban’s central business district, our XtraSpace Durban Central branch offers secure self-storage units ranging in size from 3 m2 right up to 85 m2, along with vehicle storage and a fully equipped business centre with free internet, fax and copying services.
Also offering personal and business self-storage in Durban, our Durban North branch includes storage units for personal or business items, and vehicle storage facilities. It also offers Flexi Offices on flexible agreements.