Sunday, July 15

Beachfront: Reaching the right point

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Multi-million rand investments along the Durban promenade and in the Point area are helping the city reach full potential

The announcement in December that construction on the Durban beachfront promenade around the Point Waterfront zone would begin after the 2017 festive season triggered renewed energy into the city’s premier tourism asset.
The Point Waterfront project has been still-born for decades with its false starts raising ire rather than enthusiasm among investors and residents.

Elsewhere along the Durban beachfront, major hotel groups had already made multi-million-rand investments into upgrading their properties to boost values and encourage a return to the Golden Mile, but the southern end around Point Road (now Mahatma Gandhi Road) had remained an eyesore.

In December the eThekwini Municipality announced R300 million had been budgeted for the promenade project extending along Veitch’s Pier that will allow residents and visitors to walk to the harbour entrance.

The project is expected to unlock the R35billion development into the Point Waterfront as it ushers in its first phase investment – a residential tower, retail mall and hotel.

There are also plans for multi-storey structures including residential, office, retail and leisure infrastructure.

Other private sector investments along the beachfront have contributed to its renewed success. In 2015, the Protea Edward Hotel announced it was adding 30 rooms to its existing 101 rooms in line with the city’s demand as a domestic holiday and business tourism destination.

Two years earlier, the Maharani Hotel made a come-back when the Tsogo Sun Group invested R220m into redeveloping the Elangeni and North Beach hotels into a single 734-room establishment renamed Elangeni & Maharani Hotel.

The Beach Hotel, owned by the Gooderson Leisure Group, will go under the hammer soon. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

It was the largest private sector tourism investment on the Golden Mile since the hotel and leisure group opened the Suncoast Hotel in 2006, and the municipality unveiled the R200m overhaul of the promenade ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup soccer tournament.

Earlier this year, The Lion Match Company unveiled its new head office – a multi-functional building on Mahatma Gandhi Road started in 2013 that took nine months to complete and was the first new building constructed along that road in decades.

The historic Addington Children’s Hospital (now called the KZN Children’s Hospital) is also in the throes of a revamp with the first refurbished building completed in 2013 and providing services to thousands of children and adolescents. However, an estimated R30m is required to complete the project in a complex that opened its doors in 1931 as a multi-racial facility. The previous government closed the facility in 1980 and the buildings ran into ruin.

The upside of these developments and renewed energy is the availability of commercial property for sale or to let along the Durban beachfront. Momentum International Realty has a 35m² retail space on its books for R95000 that operates as a biltong shop. Just Property has a 1165m2 commercial space for R11.5m situated close to the harbour. Bound by three roads, the property benefits from high visibility and is located in the municipality’s Durban Central Precinct for its new Urban Development Zone demarcations.

Century 21 Properties has a 290m² commercial space for R18.95m which a triple-net lease with a blue chip client. The lease has seven years to run with a 6% annual escalation.

Wakefields has an opportunity for property investors seeking student accommodation options – a 303m² building for R35m consisting of 89 bachelor flats in a multi-tenanted freehold block.

The ground floor houses a restaurant, while each flat is let for between R4500 and R5000 a month.

Other opportunities include two auction dates scheduled in the next two months.

On June 20, In2Assets Auctioneers will auction a 98m² retail shop available for immediate occupation and located in Dr Pixley Kaseme (West) Street near the beachfront.

On July 25, the company will auction a fully tenanted building generating a gross annual income touching R3.6m.

The 36 apartments occupy two road frontages and the property is within walking distance of the beachfront and Durban International Convention Centre.

On July 19, the three-star Gooderson Beach Hotel goes under the hammer. The 11-storey hotel has 114 en-suite rooms (13 of which are self-catering), two restaurants, a cocktail bar, basement parking and five fully let retail shops.

Located on the Durban beachfront promenade, the hotel promises an investment opportunity for someone capitalising on the city’s holiday reputation.

Property 24 has two blocks of flats on its books for R12.5m and R35m respectively that can be used as student accommodation.

In terms of rental premises, the company has a 640m² ground floor commercial space with mezzanine level available in the Point Waterfront precinct for R90/m².

Point Waterfront Realty has first and second floor premises to let in The Stevedores complex. There are 22 units available, each measuring 52m².

Established and newer names operating in the area

Joe Cool’s

For nearly 30 years, Joe Cool’s casual pub dining experience has been an anchor on the Durban beachfront. Ideal for lunch with a view of the Indian Ocean.

Joe Cool’s has been an iconic part of the beachfront landscape for decades. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

W.L. Cole

Established in 1963, W.L. Cole is a leading supplier to the southern African hospitality industry. In-house manufacturing and economies of scale are leveraged to offer customers value in bed linen, towels, kitchen smalls and chefs wear.

Happy Hippo Backpackers

Located within walking distance of uShaka Marine World, Happy Hippo Backpackers provides tourists with easy access to holiday attractions without the need for transportation. The business is decorated in a contemporary African ethnic theme.

The Lion Match Company

Established more than a century ago, The Lion Match Company has developed favourite brands – from its iconic Lion Safety Matches to a growing range of personal grooming products and home and personal care capabilities.

The Lion Match Company’s new headquarters in Mahatma Gandhi Road were unveiled this year. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Ogilvy & Mather

Durban Part of the global advertising company Ogilvy & Mather, specialising in building and transforming its clients’ brands, the Durban branch opened in 2013.

Robson’s Brewery

Robson’s was established by punk UK brewer Stuart Robson. The Stewart family acquired the business and have forged a craft beer company which has relocated to the Point Waterfront area as a casual eatery and pub.

Tsogo Sun Group

A leading African gaming, hotel and entertainment group (Tsogo Sun), is well represented along Durban’s beachfront.

Many opportunities for investors 

Property development

The green light on the Point Waterfront development initiative opens opportunities for investors to revamp, refurbish and redevelop older properties and space along the Durban beachfront. This is not limited to the Point region nearest the harbour, but extends along the Golden Mile from uShaka beach through North Beach and Country Club Beach.

Estate agencies

The growing demand for properties, either for sale or to let, creates opportunities for estate agencies to flourish in this environment. Operating along the Durban beachfront are the country’s national brands as well as smaller localised ones, each catering to clients’ needs.

The Elangeni & Maharani Hotel catches early morning sunlight reflecting off the Indian Ocean. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Tourism-based initiatives

Durban is renowned for its tourism flavour, especially highlighted along the beachfront as its key attraction. This means there are various opportunities for investments in tourism-based initiatives, including hotels, backpacking establishments and activity-based companies. The revamp of the Durban beachfront promenade has triggered various businesses catering to residents and visitors who savour the beauty of the modernised facility, including many restaurants, bicycle hire companies and initiatives teaching youngsters and adults the skills of surfing the Indian Ocean waves.

Land for development

There are various pockets of undeveloped land available for sale, offering investors a blank canvas on which to build and create their dream.

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