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Glenashley: Family life is nice in the north

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A sound area to bring up children in affluent suburbs, while developing a career or business alongside a retail and entertainment hub

Forming part of the suburbs collectively known as Durban North, Glenashley is an affluent and predominantly residential neighbourhood in which the development of modern cities is witnessing a shift in building use.

Durban North lies between the N2 and the eastern seashore with the Umgeni River forming its southern boundary. Glenashley, located 8km north of the traditional Durban CBD and 5km south of Umhlanga, now recognised as the city’s commercial hub, abuts La Lucia in the north and has retained its reputation for being among Durban’s most affluent and elite suburbs.

The nearby industrial areas include Briardene, Red Hill and Glen Anil, meaning the bulk of commercial activity within Glenashley is retail and entertainment, while older properties are also being acquired for redevelopment. This has included knocking down houses to build from scratch according to demand and gutting existing buildings to facilitate the new property use.

Retail outlets include the Glenore Centre, the Ashley Centre, Glenashley Centre, Eli Centre and The Corner, but none of these properties are large-scale shopping centres, given the close proximity of the La Lucia Mall and Gateway in Umhlanga.

The Glenore Centre is visible from the M4 and provides Glenashley with an anchor commercial hub. Picture: Terry Haywood Photograph

One example of the redevelopment is the old Calabash Inn and Guest House located opposite the Glenashley Centre on Newport Avenue. The former eight-bedroom facility is currently under renovation, but will shift from a tourism industry provider to commercial space. When the doors open on the completed project, the property will be the new home of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Property Umhlanga and Durban North.

However, Century 21 property negotiator commercial and residential, Rod Maistry, says the market is experiencing a slump given the current political uncertainty and economic position. While people are tentatively looking at market availability, there is little commitment to renting, buying or moving. He says when leases are being signed, there is a tendency for shorter-terms, possibly only one year.

Just Property Umhlanga principal Lloyd Robinson says there are nodes where property conversions are happening, but Glenashley remains predominantly a residential neighbourhood geared towards families with school-going children. However, in the commercial spaces, businesses offering the correct products and services and paying acceptable rentals are proving successful.

Across the road from the Glenore Centre, Anchor House is prime commercial space in the heart of Glenashley. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

“However, good tenants are few and far between and the market has contracted significantly in the past year as investors adopt a wait-and-see approach,” he says.

Maistry says there has been a shift in property use with residential houses being converted into small business premises, but there is a preference for businesses to operate in secure complexes. Those ones establishing in converted properties are typically ones that do not rely on passing trade for their services – doctors, lawyers and other specialised services rather than beauty salons and hairdressers, where operating from the larger shopping centres, like Gateway in Umhlanga or La Lucia Mall, is more beneficial.

Despite the economic uncertainty, there are various commercial options for rent and sales. Rental asking prices range between R125/m² for a 185m² property currently operating as a restaurant to R162.50/m² for a 40m² office and R163 for an 85m² prime retail site.

In line with the area’s suitability for tourism products, there are a host of guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation facilities that come to the market periodically. Asking prices depend on the property size and business, with two examples in the past year entering the market at R4.9million and R10m.

Businesses, restaurants and trendy offerings for all

Comics Food Bar and Takeaway adds a splash of colour to the local landscape while serving up memorable dishes with names based on favourite cartoon characters. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Gorilla Creative Media

A social media specialist, Gorilla Creative Media recognises social media is not a one-size-fits-all approach and therefore ensures its campaigns for clients meet their strict objectives. Its services include web and mobile platform development, Facebook application, social media strategy and marketing mix and content creation.

Jack Salmon Fish House

Jack Salmon Fish House prides itself in sourcing only the freshest seafood and delivering innovative menus including meze, sushi and traditional seafood dishes.

Comics Food Bar and Takeaway

Given 80% of its clientele are regulars waxing lyrical about the wild boar ribs, Obelix cheese and bacon burgers and crispy chips, the Comics Food Bar and Takeaway lives up to its motto that “you just keep coming back”. This restaurant consumes 1.5 tons of chips each month and patrons have the opportunity to read old comics while waiting for their meals.

Olwandle Guest House

Boasting awe-inspiring views over the Indian Ocean, the Olwandle Guest House is part of the Olwandle Hospitality Group. The facility offers nine en-suite bedrooms, breakfast daily, internet access and secure parking and invites guests, particularly international ones, to experience its traditional South African dishes, including Umqombothi (Zulu beer). 

The Olwandle Guest House is among several properties in the neighbourhood which are servicing the tourism industry. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Richmond Plumbing and Sanitaryware

Richmond Plumbing and Sanitaryware is a preferred distributor for key brands including Kohler, Duravit, Geberit, Grohe and Franke.

Advantages to living, working in the area
Live, work, play

As an established residential neighbourhood, there are many opportunities for people to live close to places of work. Glenashley is also known for its outstanding schools, social amenities and shopping centres, making the area a sound one in which to bring up children while developing a career or business.


The area has swift access to the national N2 and N3 freeways as well as the R102 and M4 highways. The King Shaka International Airport and Durban port are within easy distance, while the port of Richards Bay is only a 90-minute drive to the north.


Picture: Terry Haywood Photography
Previously the Calabash Inn Guest House, this building is under redevelopment and will include the new home for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s Durban North and Umhlanga. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

There is substantial opportunity for investors and property developers to acquire older properties for redevelopment, either turning them into commercial office space or as infrastructure into the tourism industry, like guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation.

Available labour

The area can draw on the skilled and semi-skilled labour living in the nearby KwaMashu, Phoenix, Ntuzuma and Inanda neighbourhoods as well as the more affluent areas in Mount Edgecombe and Umhlanga Rocks


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