Durban’s Berea drew the city’s well-heeled from its early days and it continues to make a statement
Alongside Stephen Dlamini Road (formerly Essenwood Road), Musgrave Road on Durban’s Berea has always been a quintessential address for commercial or residential ownership. It was the address for the city’s well-heeled from its earliest days, and little has changed in terms of providing a premium statement.
The Berea was developed as the first residential zone outside the Durban CBD when the original British settlers established their roots. As a ridge above the swampy land where the CBD now stands, the Berea was cooler, provided a respite from the humidity and mosquitoes when the breeze blew, and overlooked the developing business area.
Consequently, some of Durban’s oldest mansions were built along this once forested ridge with many now converted into offices or demolished to make way for apartment buildings.
Today the name Berea is used as the collective designation for the suburbs along the ridge and is considered the neighbourhood between the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus and the Burman Bush Nature Reserve. Both Musgrave Road and Stephen Dlamini Road have a section designated as a one-way with Musgrave Road running south towards Berea Road and Tollgate Bridge and Stephen Dlamini Road running north.
Anchoring the commercial businesses along Musgrave Road is the iconic Musgrave Centre that has delivered upmarket shopping experiences for more than 50 years. The centre is home to more than 120 retail outlets ranging from international brands to national retailers, independent line stores and boutiques, restaurants, casual eateries and movie theatres.
Further along the road, Strathmore Park was developed as a secure A-grade office complex with multiple tenants. The building is nestled within well-manicured gardens and its location means a corporate address with easy access to the N3 national freeway and other main transport routes.
Rawson Property Group Berea franchisee Mahomed Jooma says the area currently offers buy-to-let investors returns on investments of between 8% and 10%. Returns on commercial rentals on the Berea were also “substantial and climbing”, with Jooma indicating the neighbourhood is an outstanding alternative to the already popular residential rental market.
Strathmore Park has space available between R115/m² and R135/m². A 55m² office space in the prestigious Musgrave Park building can be rented for R262/m², and 132m² within a medical centre with on-site parking is on offer for R175/m².
Currently for sale is a property used as a dental practice, with the 140.25m² building on a 326m² plot offering investors a development opportunity. The asking price is R2.7million. In May a property currently used as student accommodation and earning monthly rental income of R75000 came to the market for R5.5m, while a professional office complex close to the N3 is on the market for R4.5m.
Flotation therapy, authentic Indian cuisine among offerings
SA Float Wellness SA specialises in flotation therapy as a means of soothing and healing the body from the stress of daily living. The flotation tank, or sensory deprivation chamber, enables clients to engage in a deep, meditative state, regardless of meditation experience.
The Little India
Restaurant An award-winning restaurant, The Little India has satisfied the cravings for authentic Indian vegetarian and meat dishes for nearly 20 years. Indian cuisine is as diverse as its culture, languages, regions and climate, with every major region contributing its unique dishes and subtle variations to popular dishes. The Little India strives to provide “the Indian taste of Indian cuisine”.
Begun as a dream in 1990, Country Bake originally opened its doors in Albert Street in the Durban CBD as a space in the heart of the city where patrons could relax with a cup of coffee and an indulgent treat. When the Durban CBD changed, the coffee shop relocated into a heritage building on Musgrave Road, but continues offering patrons old confectionery classics as well as innovations.
Another award-winning restaurant operating along Musgrave Road, St Clements is a casual dining experience, an indigenous nursery and a book exchange rolled into a single venue in a converted Berea house. It is a meeting place for friends and socialites and offers outstanding weekend breakfasts.
Retirement Complex Caister Lodge was established in 1987 on the site of what was once the Caister Hotel, a popular family hotel well-known to most Durbanites. The hotel was transformed into what is today a sought-after residency by those wishing to retire in safe, secure and tranquil surroundings in the heart of the Berea.
Advantages for businesses, residents
Previously a residential street, Musgrave Road now provides a mix of residential and commercial property offering businesses an established neighbourhood in which to operate.
Live, work and play
Forming part of upmarket Berea, there are opportunities to live, work and socialise within a small geographical space. The area is renowned for its good educational facilities, from Tree Tops School established in 1932 to accommodate early learning preschoolers to Durban High School and Durban Girls’ College as some examples.
Location – CBD and national infrastructure
Musgrave Road is located minutes away from the Durban central business district as well as having sound access to national and provincial road infrastructure for working and/or living near the neighbourhood. Access to Umhlanga is also relatively swift.
Investment and development opportunities
The transition from residential into commercial properties means there are sound opportunities for investors to acquire older properties and either convert into refurbished office accommodation or to secure the rights through the proper heritage channels to demolish the building and construct a new complex. These constructions have included both apartment developments and office complexes.