Transformation into increasingly commercial operations is an expansion of a traditional CBD
Jan Hofmeyr Road has been an anchor point in Westville central since the neighbourhood was established, and has held a mix of residential and commercial enterprises for decades.
The 3km arterial road stretches through Westville central, linking into the M13 freeway at various points as well as having access to other national infrastructure.
Before the railway line was constructed in the late 1870s, the area opposite Westville Boys High was the Outspan Tree, the first overnight stop for ox wagons heading towards the interior, specifically Pietermaritzburg and beyond. An old Natal Fig tree was planted on the site to mark the outspan location and today one of its offspring still grows on the corner of Jan Hofmeyr and Outspan roads and boasts a plaque commemorating its history.
A suburb of Durban situated 20km from the city’s traditional central business district and 30km from the Umhlanga CBD that has developed in the past 20 years, Westville is an established residential area with a long history.
A vast neighbourhood, Westville is broken down into sub-regions, with Westville central the traditional commercial centre housing the shopping facilities and other commercial activities. The transformation of Jan Hofmeyr Road into increasingly commercial operations is an expansion from the traditional Westville CBD zone.
Anchored by national retailer Pick n Pay, the Village Market Shopping Centre recently underwent an extensive revamp in a bid to attract new clientele and stay relevant in the face of modernisations to the nearby regional shopping centre, Pavilion, and the community malls, Westville Junction and Westville Mall. Westville Boys High stands on the site of the original primary education facility.
In 1955, the doors were opened for a community high school, originally as a joint boys’ and girls’ school. Further down the road was the Westville Hotel, now operating as the International Hotel School, while opposite the road On Tap now operates from the site many older residents will remember as the local corner café, Handy GG.
The Westville Veterinary Hospital opened its doors along Jan Hofmeyr Road in 1966, offering an essential service to pet owners living as close as walking distance to the facility.
However, modern trends have seen a shift in property use and older houses have been renovated, upgraded or knocked down to evolve into small business premises.
On the top end of Jan Hofmeyr Road, a number of adjacent properties were acquired for the land to be redeveloped into gated complexes, with one such development currently under construction.
The original town planning requirements for Westville that saw properties occupying large tracts of land means commercial property developers have opportunities for redeveloping acquired properties into commercial nodes, if the land is rezoned or high density residential accommodation.
According to commercial and industrial property group Strathmore, Westville has a significant competitive advantage due to its central location and its natural beauty. Credited with being Durban’s leafiest suburb, Westville is “easy on the eye and provides a tranquil business setting”.
High-security office block Delmat House has space available for rent, with units from 150m2 to 454m2 and rentals between R110/m2 and R116/m2. In Moor House a 60m2 unit is available for R122/m2. Business Partners is advertising space to let in its revamped building in Jan Hofmeyr Road.
Banking, wood-oven pizzas and expert veterinary care
Business Partners was originally founded as the Small Business Development Corporation by the late Anton Rupert as a joint venture between the public and private sectors to finance and support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Today, Business Partners is a specialist risk finance company providing customised financial solutions, sectoral knowledge, mentorship, business premises and other value-added services to SMEs in South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
Westville Veterinary Hospital
Founded in 1966, the Westville Veterinary Hospital has been a stalwart for the suburb’s pet owners for generations. The facility strives for excellence in all aspects of pet care with the goal being to enrich the experience clients have with their pets through education and preventative medicine.
HBZ Bank represents the first major investment in South Africa by a Swiss-based banking group and was launched in the country in 1995 with an initial capital investment of R50million. The bank has branches in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and has a division specialising in Islamic banking.
Kreston International is a global network of accounting firms, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity. Kreston South Africa provides a full range of accountancy, business advisory and financial services and has more than 80 years of collective experience among the offices and 10 locations nationally.
Juke’s Wood Oven Pizza
A relative newcomer to the area, Juke’s Wood Oven Pizza is an independent pizzeria serving gourmet, wood-oven pizzas to patrons as an alternative to the national and international brands already operating in the suburb.
Advantages offered by the area
Jan Hofmeyr Road connects to the M13 highway on both ends and links into Roger Sishi Road (old Blair Atholl Road) that connects to the M19 highway. It is also easily connected to the N3 national freeway, making access into and out of the road convenient for both drawing customers and work.
Westville is an established neighbourhood, with a wealthy client base, meaning businesses in the area have a solid chance of survival.
Live, work, play
There is the ability to live, work and play within a 5km radius as Westville is known for its good value property prices, schools and entertainment facilities. Establishing a business or working in Jan Hofmeyr Road could probably be within walking distance of home.
Properties available for redevelopment
As properties increasingly shift from residential into commercial, the older houses in the area come on to the market to be redeveloped.
Sound social infrastructure
Westville has a sound social infrastructure with Jan Hofmeyr Road, including Westville Boys High School, the Westville Jaame’ Masjid opposite the road, Westville Methodist Church, Village Market Shopping Centre and Waxy O’Connor’s Irish pub as longstanding landmarks. Several new medical centres have also been developed recently.