Area, with plenty of land available, close to Durban and the port, is growing
At the height of KwaZulu-Natal’s dominance of the clothing and textile industry, Hammarsdale was a thriving industrial suburb, 45km from the Durban central business district.
It provided critical employment to thousands living in the surrounding areas. Industrial food group Rainbow Chicken had its head office at the Hammarsdale processing plant, with its farms occupying vast swathes of land along the N3 national freeway and employing members of the local community.
However, well-documented factors triggered the demise of South Africa’s clothing and textile production industries, along with cheap imports and Rainbow Chicken has closed several of its production facilities across the country, leaving Hammarsdale a ghost town.
Many of the decades-old buildings stand abandoned as sad monuments to globalisation and economic policies favouring imports and international job creation to local growth and employment. The upside is an opportunity for commercial and industrial property development in the area, which brings to mind the image of a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Already under construction is Keystone Park, a 152ha logistics, warehousing and light industrial precinct located at the Hammarsdale interchange off the N3 national highway. Being undertaken by Rokwil Property Development, the development will provide a modern, fully-serviced logistics park along the primary western corridor of KwaZulu-Natal.
The initiative yields more than a million square metres of platformed area, over 24 sites, with the Mr Price Group national distribution facility the first company to sign tenancy. Broll Property Group agent Anthon van Weers says Hammarsdale is experiencing a surge of renewed interest, given its well-priced, zoned and serviced industrial land.
Electricity in the node is cheaper than elsewhere, as it is purchased directly from national supplier Eskom, while the upmarket residential areas of Kloof and Hillcrest are within easy access for commuting. “The skyrocketing demand for industrial property in Durban, coupled with a low supply of land for sale, has resulted in the renewed demand for land in the Durban outer west corridor.
“Hammarsdale is central to this renewed interest with the publicity surrounding the proposed dry port earmarked for Cato Ridge adding further impetus,” he says. There is a wide range of industrial space available for sale or rent in Hammarsdale, from the opportunity to acquire or let in Keystone Park to the ability to renovate and refurbish or demolish and rebuild, existing factory space.
Designed as light industrial warehousing and logistics precinct, and with the Mr Price distribution centre as an anchor tenant, Keystone has various platforms available for development, ranging in size from 3700m² to 55 000m². In the older section of Hammarsdale, is a 3000m² warehouse for sale with an R11 million asking price.
The facility has a gross lettable area of 7578m². It comprises offices, ablutions, storerooms, a mezzanine and outbuildings. The factory is divided into two sections linked by a ramp and roller shutter door and can be individually tenanted. Within Valvick Business Park, there is an 1800m² industrial space available to let for R30/m². It offers the potential buyer six offices, a kitchen and six open parking bays in front of the unit.
National heavyweights and recyclers have a presence
Owned by French company Rubis Engergie (60%) and local company Reatile Gaz (40%), Easigas has been a leading supplier and distributor of liquefied petroleum gas to the southern African market for more than 30 years. The company aims to be the leader in the LPG business by moving to attractive market offers, adjusting to customer demands and being profitable in the countries in which it operates.
Mr Price Group
Multinational company Mr Price Group retails apparel, homeware and sportswear through owned and franchised stores, as well as online, to customers in Africa and Australia. Merchandise is predominantly own-branded and targeted at younger customers in the mid-to-upper LSM categories.
Founded in Cape Town in 1916, clothing retail chain Ackermans has more than 700 stores across southern Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia. In 2015, the South African Consumer Satisfaction Index rated the brand as the second best clothing store.
Pietermaritzburg-based recycling company Central Waste was founded in 1994 as a family business and has grown from collecting paper and cardboard to provide a recycling service to the city and its surroundings. The operation provides an income for more than 500 informal traders and hawkers who collect waste for processing.
Textile recycling company Connacher has based its business on an increasing amount of cut-make-and-trim waste (a component of the textile and clothing industry) was being dumped in landfill sites. This dumping was consuming large areas of space and effectively damaging the environment. Connacher collects cut-make-and-trim waste to re-shred into reusable fibre.
Plenty of opportunity for redevelopment
Hammarsdale is on the N3 national road around 50km west of the Durban harbour and on the key transport route between the economic heartland in Gauteng and the port. National roads agency Sanral is upgrading the interchange to Hammarsdale to promote more efficient and effective traffic flow, particularly for large trucks and container vehicles.
Land available for development
The decimation of the clothing and textile companies and the Rainbow Chicken operations in Hammarsdale has meant substantial land and commercial properties available for development. The Keystone Park industrial development promises greenfield projects, while the older, abandoned factories can be redeveloped.
Hammarsdale and its environs are economically depressed areas, where unemployment levels are high and the demand for investment to create jobs is pressing. This means there is a significant supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labour in the region waiting for investors to create opportunities.
Hammarsdale’s strategic location on the N3 and between the Durban harbour and Pietermaritzburg makes it an ideal environment for developing largescale logistics and distribution hubs. Various companies, including the Mr Price Group, Ackermans, Malda Pack and ND Engineering, have already taken advantage of these opportunities.
There are sound taxi routes between Hammarsdale and its surrounding communities, which ensure efficient and effective public transport availability for employees.