This area, which incorporates part of the old Mariannhill Monastery, has developed into the industrial hub of Pinetown
Travelling west along the N3 freeway between Durban and Gauteng, investors and business owners arrive in Westmead, an industrial area located in the eThekwini Municipality’s inner west suburb of Pinetown.
Pinetown central has long been known as Motor Town, given the large number of automotive dealerships along Josiah Gumede Road (formerly Old Main Road) that contributed to the popularity of the area as a commercial and economic growth point. As the next suburb, Westmead originally evolved as the traditional industrial hub for Pinetown.
Today the well-established industrial area incorporates commercial and industrial properties across five parks, namely Maxmead, Alexander Park, Surprise Farm, Monte Carlo Industrial and Mahogany Ridge. The recent upgrade to the Richmond Road off-ramp from the N3 freeway has driven substantial growth in the neighbourhood as trucks can more easily enter and depart the industrial zone.
This is despite the density coming from minibus taxis, trucks of varying sizes, municipal buses and motor vehicles. Over time the industrial area has spread outwards and has borders on the N3 to Gauteng, the M13 to Kloof and the M19 to the south coast. Mahogany Ridge was developed 20 years ago after a large land tract was purchased from the Mariannhill Monastery to become the industrial park.
In earlier days the park was sometimes nicknamed “new Westmead”. Beyond the N3 route, Westmead is centrally located to service the key routes along the KwaZulu-Natal north and south coasts including the M13, N2 and the M19, cementing its relevance as a key industrial node when the neighbourhood was first developed, and continuing today in light of more modern hubs establishing across the municipality.
According to Dalmax Properties agent Chalkie White, Westmead is now home to variety of large and small factories and warehouses, and offers a host of attractive investment opportunities. In addition to the freeway access, the benefits include realistic rentals, a reliable three-phase electricity supply and sound security measures.
“The area is characterised by companies covering a broad spectrum of industries including construction, engineering, couriers, vehicle servicing and spares, printing and packaging. It houses large national brand names to small privately owned enterprises and everything in between,” he says.
GR Cabins owner Terri Allen says as a busy hub ideally situated next to the N3, Westmead offers clients easy access to showrooms and swift and efficient delivery routes. A significant plus for Westmead is the ability for a cluster of similar manufacturers to attract clients from outlying areas.
There is today a variety of properties within Westmead either for sale or to let. In the past few weeks two properties have come to the market with price-on-demand information – one covering 1 220m² for an investment property with four established tenants and the other a 214m² minifactory site.
Elsewhere within the neighbourhood another minifactory site has come to the market for R630 000, or R6 500 a month rent, with immediate occupation.
Another industrial site, measuring 414m² and located within a secure complex carries a R3.163 million price tag. Rents can range from R55/m² for 2 400m² to R60/m² for a 2 950m² warehouse and R77/m² for a 2 647m² A-grade warehouse located within a 3 042m² unit.
Businesses include packing, construction and glue suppliers
Established in 1998, the KwaZulu-Natal-based company specialises in manufacturing, converting and distributing protective packaging, expanded polyethylene profiles and other specified products.
Wirtgen South Africa
Part of the international Wirtgen group of companies, Wirtgen South Africa operates in the construction machinery sector to offer clients a broad range of services tailored to their individual requirements. Areas of expertise include road construction, mining and the processing of pay minerals.
Glue Devil Adhesives
Founded more than 20 years ago in Durban, Glue Devil Adhesive is a family-owned national adhesive distributor that has gained a significant foothold into the local market. The company manufactures and provides adhesives, silicones, sealants, spray paints and tapes.
Specialising in car auctions, Auction Operation holds auctions around the country to offer potential bidders the opportunity to acquire bank repossessed and insurance salvaged vehicles. From the seller’s viewpoint, the company offers a transparent method for salvage disposal yielding the highest possible return.
Advantages of being part of Westmead
Located inland from the Durban central business district, Westmead has sound access routes to the N3 and N2 national freeways as well as the M13 highway. This places the neighbourhood within relative striking distance of the ports of Durban and Richards Bay, the King Shaka International Airport as well as the main transport route between Durban and Gauteng.
While an older industrial area has its disadvantages in not being able to accommodate more modern requirements, there are advantages over established neighbourhoods when higher loading docks or other specifications are not required. This includes relatively cheaper rents.
The infrastructure within the Westmead industrial area can sufficiently accommodate the demand for trucks, clients and employees.
Access to labour
The downside to a struggling economy is high unemployment levels. Westmead is within walking and public transport access forunskilled and semiskilled labour, while middle and upper management have the opportunities to live within a 5km radius of work in the residential neighbourhoods of Kloof, Westville and Pinetown.
Another advantage of an established area is the benefit of multi-disciplinary cross-over among industries. Industry clusters emerge with individual companies feeding off each other’s opportunities and down time. Westmead has a dominance of logistics companies, packaging companies, express delivery companies and motor trade auxiliary services.