Peri-urban area has expanded into a thriving commercial and residential centre, and is an easy commute to Durban CBD
Before the financial services group Sanlam built the Sanlam Centre Shopping Centre (now named Pinecrest Centre) in Pinetown in the 1980s, people who had chosen a quieter lifestyle in Hillcrest and Waterfall had to contend with limited shopping opportunities.
Situated on the corner of Old Main and Inanda roads, the Richden’s Spar was the most significant retailer for the neighbourhood, and its services were augmented by corner cafes and mom-andpop-style outlets. If more specialised items were required, residents could choose whether to drive to Pietermaritzburg or to the Durban CBDs the distances were virtually the same.
Today, driving down Inanda Road, which links Hillcrest to Waterfall, that scenario is unimaginable. Shopping complexes stand on every corner and along the route, providing retail space to national chains as anchor tenants and smaller specialist stores and outlets.
The remote peri-urban neighbourhood, where horses had the right of way and traffic lights were unknown, has been relegated to the history books, while Hillcrest and Waterfall benefit from the dramatic growth in eThekwini’s outer west suburbs.
As development along Inanda Road has expanded, the two suburbs are increasingly merging into a single mixed-use residential and commercial hub, located directly north of Kloof and adjacent to Forest Hills, roughly 30km west of the Durban CBD.
Yet, the greatest appeal of living in the outer west region remains the ability for residents and business owners or investors to “escape the city life”, while still being within close reach of sound economic infrastructure, an affluent customer base and good social structures, including schools, hospitals and shopping facilities.
Dominating the Hillcrest side of Inanda Road are commercial centres, each bringing a different characteristic and shopping experience to the market. The Colony, The Junction on Inanda and Refined Park office complex provide retail, leisure, entertainment and commercial space. Travelling towards Waterfall (and the R700million Watercrest Mall development that opened its doors in 2015) are the multibillion-rand residential estates.
Kirtlington, with its equestrian feel in remembrance of the area’s history, Le Domaine retirement complex, Cotswold Downs and 101 Acutts are only a handful of the vast property developments that have come to the market and cater for every family combination – newly-weds finding new roots, young families with children requiring quality education within easy access and older residents looking to downsize or escape the rowdiness of happy youngsters.
Seeff Hillcrest, Kloof and Waterfall co-director Michele Wilson says consistent broad-based and multi-faceted development, despite a poor national economy, has been the foundation for continued positive growth in Durban’s upper Highway area.
These include the large housing developments, like Emberton Estate and the recently launched Cotswold Downs Fenns. There are various commercial property options available for investors who are looking to make Inanda Road their base.
A 163m² space in the area can be secured for R177/m², with the ground floor unit being used as an office but with the ability to become showroom premises. Another free-standing office within Hillcrest can be rented at R85/m² for the 250m² space. The original building was a residential home which was converted to accommodate modern demands.
Hardware and pet shops are among businesses on the road
This family-owned business has been supplying the building and DIY industries for the past 36 years. The company takes pride in providing good service at a fair price, and is committed to tracking down specific products clients might require.
SPCA Thrift Shop
One of two thrift shops linked to the Kloof and Highway SPCA, proceeds from this charity shop assist the animal welfare organisation to provide a comprehensive service to the substantial community. Its mandate involves protecting animals and preventing cruelty, neglect and suffering, with its jurisdiction stretching from Westville to Cato Ridge and the surrounding areas.
Cat Box Pet Hyper
Cat Box Pet Hyper is among the largest speciality pet food and accessories retailers nationally. It has 23 branches. Stores carry more than 5000 products, including those exclusive to the retailer. Premium pet food is imported from Belgium; other products come from across Europe.
Mythos Authentic Greek
Established in 2006, Mythos has become renowned for its authentic Greek cuisine, with the head chef bringing to the restaurant a wealth of family recipes. Key ingredients are imported from Greece and this authentic culinary approach has garnered the brand various awards in the past decade.
Curro Hillcrest Christian Academy
Curro Hillcrest is an independent co-educational school ranging from kindergarten to matric and offers an education programme designed to challenge, inspire and develop children.
There are various property development choices available in the area. As vacant land is released for development, residential properties are rezoned for small business use and the urban expansion transforms the land between Hillcrest and Waterfall, specifically Inanda Road. Demand for property developments include retirement villages, gated communities and medium-size commercial ventures, from warehousing to self-storage facilities.
Accommodation and conference facilities
The commercial growth that has been experienced generally in the outer west neighbourhoods has paved the way for business-related accommodation and conferencing facilities. The typically relatively large older residential properties in this neighbourhood make conversions into bed and breakfast establishments, or larger boutique hotels and conferencing centres, a feasible option, while the proximity to areas of natural beauty makes for idyllic settings for wedding photographs or team building projects.
Inanda Road falls under the 1000 Hills Experience tourism brand, and investors have an opportunity to link their businesses to an established association known for attracting tourists to the neighbourhood. Commercial property initiatives linked to tourism can include boutique hotels, smaller catering outlets and nature-based projects.
The growing population in the outer west, linked to the growth in gated communities and higherdensity property developments that have attracted young families, provides opportunities for establishing educational facilities. These can include pre-primary and formal schooling outlets, as well as higher education or distance learning initiatives.