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Commercial property in KZN: Point redevelopment

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Durban Point Waterfront Development precinct will inject billions into renewing and upgrading the city centre

The multibillion-rand investments
earmarked for the Durban Point
Waterfront Development precinct
follow the significant confidence already
shown in rehabilitating and rejuvenating this
prime real estate.
Being undertaken as a public-private
partnership with a Malaysian company,
the redevelopment is anticipated to inject
R35 billion into the area over the next
decade and includes residential flats,
a shopping mall, hotels, infrastructural
upgrades and office and retail space.
However, access to the Point area has
been marred by the gauntlet run down
Mahatma Gandhi Road (formerly Point
Road) with visitors forced to endure urban
decay; prostitution and drug activity;
abandoned and derelict buildings.
Some of the older properties along Mahatma Gandhi Road that have been restored to their former glory. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Hence, the news last week that the
eThekwini Municipality would demolish
about 80 derelict buildings throughout the
inner city and the Point has been greeted
with sighs of relief.
As part of the initiative, the municipality
has razed three buildings in the Point area.
Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela says
39 of the earmarked buildings are along
Mahatma Gandhi Road and in the broader
Point precinct.
The municipality is obtaining
legal permission to demolish more of the
problem structures.
The initiative dates to 2015 when the
municipality announced it would tackle the
issue of derelict buildings through the newly
gazetted Problem Building By-law.
The law
aims to identify, control and rehabilitate
problem buildings and outlines steps to
identify and label such buildings.
This includes buildings derelict in
appearance or showing signs of
becoming unhealthy; unsanitary
or unsightly structures and
those which appear to
have been abandoned,
regardless of whether
the rates have been
paid.
Renovated and modernised buildings stand side by side those the municipality could identify for demolition. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Problem buildings
are also ones that are
overcrowded, illegally
occupied or hijacked.
Mayisela says, in some
cases, the owners have
abandoned the buildings,
leading to the structures being
used as drug dens, brothels and
homes for vagrants. This has impacted
on the people living in the neighbouring
buildings and the decision to demolish
was “an aggressive approach by the city in
dealing with these buildings”.
“The owners of bad buildings must either
take on their responsibilities or risk losing
their property. This move is part of the
city’s plan to rejuvenate the inner city and
the municipality is committed to working
with the private sector in eradicating bad
buildings for commercial use, student
accommodation and social housing,”
he says.
The DA’s eThekwini economic
development and planning committee
whip Marlaine Nair says the city has a
large number of derelict buildings which
have become hideouts for criminals and
hives of criminal activity. This has
made neighbourhoods, not
only in the Point precinct,
unsafe and led to property
devaluations.
“The 80 buildings set
for bulldozing will all be
in Durban’s inner city…
this is the area that will
see the skyline change
noticeably,” Nair says.
Adding another
dimension to the potential
for boosting investment and
pride in the city is the initiative
to repaint Durban’s iconic Art
Deco buildings – many of them found in
the inner city and the Point precinct.
This dilapidated Art Deco building has the potential to become an asset to the city. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

According to Durban Art Deco Society
chairman Donald Davies, Architectural
Design has trumpeted Durban as one
of the world’s top 10 cities for Art Deco
buildings.
Davies says beautifully preserved or
restored Art Deco buildings, displaying their
vibrant colours that highlight the pillars and
ledges, are tourist attractions.

Everything from hotel to car repairs, gym and liquor store


Diablo’s Cohiba Lounge and Boutique Hotel
Diablo’s Cohiba Lounge and Boutique Hotel is in a historical building. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Located on Mahatma Gandhi Road in a beautifully restored historical building, Diablo’s
Cohiba Lounge and Boutique Hotel is part of the Diablo Holdings group, which has
businesses ranging from construction to entertainment. The company’s focus is to
educate the youth in townships and rural communities and develop them in line with
the owner’s personal experiences.
Durban Central Autobody
Part of the Renew-It Group, Durban Central Autobody repair centre offers panel
beating to insurance companies, corporate fleets and the public. The company
specialises in a broad range of motor vehicle brands.
Ross Champion Motors
Ross Champion Motors has been operating in Durban since 1939. Accredited by the
major insurance companies and manufacturers, the company provides auto repairs and
panel beating services.
Telesure Investment Holdings
Telesure Investment Holdings’s assessment centre in the Point. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Telesure Investment Holdings is the holding company for some of South Africa’s
leading financial service providers. Its portfolio includes short-term insurers, a long-term
insurer, health insurance, as well as an insurance and personal financial comparison
platform.
Body Lab Gym and Aerobics
Established in 1999, the Body Lab Group includes dedicated professionals offering
tailor-made packages to suit individuals’ training requirements, health needs and time
limitations. The company also works with corporate organisations seeking to improve
their employees’ health and fitness.
Liquor City
Founded more than 20 years ago, the Liquor City brand seeks to provide consumers
with a fresh approach to liquor retailing. The group imports brands it considers sound
value but which are not typically available on the South African market.
Plenty of investment
opportunities

The Wheel Shopping Centre was constructed in the 1980s as one of the first attempts to rejuvenate the Point district. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Property development
While the developments within
the Durban Point Waterfront
Development precinct will be
controlled and undertaken by
a public-private partnership,
there will be opportunities for
individual property developers
in the neighbourhood around
that designated area. As the
municipality demolishes buildings,
open land will become available.
Creating an investment property
portfolio
Buy-to-let investors can develop a
broad property portfolio as various
options come to the market. This
will include residential flats as well
as commercial and retail space.
Restaurants and night-life
People want to live, work and play
within their neighbourhood, so
opportunities exist to broaden the
entertainment aspects of the area,
particularly as the levels of urban
decay are addressed and the Point
district becomes more attractive to
visitors.
Auxiliary services
Similar to entertainment
opportunities, people want to shop
for their everyday needs a short
distance from home. This includes
auxiliary services like chemists,
bottle stores, superettes which
remain open for longer hours
than traditional supermarkets
and creches or nursery schools to
accommodate the early learning
needs of children.
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