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Commercial property in KZN: Verulam

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Established town with many shopping opportunities and surrounded by industrial areas also boasts a thriving informal trading sector

There are an estimated 20 mosques, 15 Hindu temples and 12 churches scattered across Verulam, a small town along the eThekwini Municipality’s northern corridor on the slopes of the Umdloti River.

Veralum, the third oldest settlement in KwaZulu-Natal after Durban and Pietermaritzburg, was settled in 1850 by a party of about 400 Methodists under the patronage of the Earl of Verulam. The name pays homage to Verulamium, an ancient Roman town constructed on the Celtic town of Vermian. meaning “built above the marsh”.

Today, the densely populated town has many strip mall-type shopping centres and bigger commercial shopping centres, while the outskirts incorporate large farming areas, several built-up townships and rural townships. Arguably the most spectacular of the religious sites is the Shree Gopal Lal Hindi Temple in Temple Road, which was established in 1888.

It is one of South Africa’s oldest temples and still caters for weekly prayers and wedding ceremonies. Surrounding the Verulam CBD are various industrial areas, including Missionlands, Canelands and Ottawa, which accommodate larger industries. The smaller manufacturing businesses are mostly in the Verulam CBD itself. Operating alongside the formal commercial businesses are myriad informal businesses.

The welcome sign, with the landmark garage (now under refurbishment) in the background, at the entrance to the town. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Despite the limited space provided for this sector in the town centre, Verulam has a wellestablished informal trading sector with sheltered structures erected in the bus and taxi rank area and along Ireland Road. This sector offers a variety of food, including takeaways and fruit and vegetables, with the expectation that the perishable goods are locally sourced.

It also has hardware and manufactured goods stands. Government facilities include a magistrate’s court, a police station, departments of labour and social welfare offices, a primary healthcare centre and a public library. In addition, there is an eThekwini Municipality Sizakala Customer Care Centre where residents can resolve council-related queries.

The town’s first fire station is under construction. In January, the Department of Trade and Industry unveiled expansion plans for blackowned industrialist textile company Africa Bespoke Apparel, following a R35.5 million funding grant. The project aims to enable the company to triple its production and expand its market penetration into sub-Saharan Africa.

Verulam’s first fire station is currently under construction. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

An advantage of being located in Verulam is its access to King Shaka International Airport. There are a number of commercial properties either for sale or to rent throughout Verulam.

A commercial property in a farming area offers an ideal business opportunity. The property boasts 2469m² of commercial space across two buildings and is on the market for R2.1m. Vacant land measuring 1.5ha, with the potential to develop commercial coverage on 50% of the property, is on the market for R12.5m.

The property is bordered by developed residential land and also offers easy access to the airport. Commercial rental space ranges from R59/m² for 170m² to R80/m² for 250m² and R35/m² for a 1400m² commercial property and workshop.


Thriving health, fashion and food businesses in the area

 

Verulam Dialysis Centre

The Verulam Dialysis Centre operates from a converted house on one of the town’s quieter streets. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Founded in 2015 by Zulaka Khan in answer to the demand for a dialysis centre in the area, the Verulam Dialysis Centre strives to provide high quality treatment in a caring and compassionate environment. After a decade working for other service providers, Khan opened her own centre, recognising the need specifically among senior community members.


Asmalls

Commercial enterprises along Verulam’s main street. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Fashion retailer Asmalls has been an integral part of the KwaZulu-Natal clothing platform for more than a century. Branches across the province stock quality, fashionable clothing and accessories, as well as fabrics from leading houses.


Vawda’s Schoolwear

Trading as Shotas Corner Store, Vawda’s Schoolwear is the oldest shop in Verulam. Established in 1896 as a grocery and farming equipment store, the business has evolved to become a leading school uniform stockist in the town.


Jalaka Concrete Works

Established in 2007, Jalaka Concrete Works aims to assist consumers in reducing building costs. The company specialises in manufacturing durable concrete products developed in line with SA Bureau of Standards-approved specifications.


Rhodes Food Group

The Rhodes Food Group is an internationally recognised producer of convenience meal solutions for customers in South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and major global markets. The group has 15 manufacturing facilities across the country and a fruit processing plant in Swaziland.


Location and land among advantages

Land availability

The industrial area has not yet been fully developed, which leaves significant land holdings available for expansion. As greenfield projects, owners and investors can develop industrial and commercial property in line with clients’ specifications.


Logistical access

The industrial area is easily accessible via both the N2 national freeway and a section of the regional R102, making it convenient for routes to Gauteng. It is in proximity to the Dube TradePort and King Shaka International Airport for international trading. Durban harbour is about 30 minutes away.


Labour

A sad reality of South Africa’s economic situation is that there is plenty of unemployed, unskilled and semi-skilled labour within walking distance of the area, typically living in informal settlements.


Transport nodes

Manufacturers within the broader Verulam area have access to a sound transport infrastructure. Located off the R102, Verulam has good links to the N2 national freeway and M4 highway to the east, as well as the King Shaka International Airport and Dube TradePort.


Location

The KwaZulu-Natal north coast has attracted substantial development over the past 20 years, with Veralum being on the doorstep of the Umhlanga Ridge primary metropolitan node, King Shaka International Airport, the international logistics hub Dube TradePort, Cornubia mixed-use commercial and residential development node and Sibaya Casino node.


Development potential

Surrounding Verulam town centre is land available for a range of uses from residential housing developments to industrial and commercial property areas. 
Opportunities for local businesses include facilities for youth development, such as computer centres; public transport and road upgrading; redevelopment of older buildings; providing services for land parcels; and providing space for expanding businesses.


Transport nodes

Manufacturers within the broader Verulam area have access to a sound transport infrastructure. Located off the R102, Verulam has good links to the N2 national freeway and M4 highway to the east, as well as the King Shaka International Airport and Dube TradePort.

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