Huge volumes of traffic pass through an area with a busy shopping mall and commercial and retail space
Anyone who lives in Durban knows what is meant by “the Berea”, despite there being a diverse range of possibilities.
It is the physical ridge above the city’s CDB overlooking the Indian Ocean, the geographical area between the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus and Burman Bush Nature Reserve, and the collective designation for the suburbs in the area separated by the N3 into Berea Musgrave and Upper Glenwood.
Some of the city’s oldest mansions are in this once forested area, with an increasing number of them being converted into commercial real estate or torn down to accommodate high-density residential property developments.
Connecting the Berea to the CBD is King Dinuzulu Road (formerly Berea Road North and South), today a fast-moving transport route on either side of the N3. Both sections of the road (eastbound into town and westbound heading inland) carry a minimum of three lanes of traffic and volumes are incessant.
However, in its earliest days and significantly before the national freeway was constructed in the 1960s, this strip of the main road from Durban to the interior was a mudslide in summer. Consequently, a toll gate was erected at the crest of the hill (now commemorated as Tollgate Bridge crossing the N3) and the funds raised used to pay for improving the roads within the growing city.
Berea Road, stretching 2km parallel to the freeway in both directions, was renamed King Dinuzulu Road in the 2000s, honouring Zulu King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo, born in 1868 and son of King Cetshwayo, and the first Zulu king officially recognised by the British. Dinuzulu came to power after the kingdom had been divided into 13 smaller chiefdoms and, according to the eThekwini Municipality website, endured leadership during a volatile period in his nation’s history.
In 1890, Dinuzulu was exiled to St Helena Island for seven years after leading Zulu armies against the British in 1883 and 1884, and was twice sent to jail for other crimes against British rule. The last followed the Bambatha Rebellion and, ironically, the unification of South Africa triggered his release only a year into a four-year imprisonment. Several long-standing commercial enterprises have survived King Dinuzulu Road’s dynamic shift in line with the city’s changes.
Constructed in 1972, the landmark Berea Centre’s management credits its location on a bustling transport route and its retail legacy for the shopping mall being “a well-loved destination for commuters, residents and students alike”. The centre was recently redeveloped to boost its retail component, with a focus on value, and now accommodates more than 30 stores, ranging from national food and clothing brand tenants to boutiques.
Another feature of the area is Berea Court, an art deco building constructed in 1937 as an apartment block and now functioning as student accommodation.
According to the Durban Art Deco Society, the city has a significant number of buildings in this architectural style and an initiative is under way to repaint neglected buildings in their original vibrant colours and highlight tourism potential. There is various commercial and retail space available along King Dinuzulu Road, including an advertising board outside the Port Natal Masonic Lodge reflecting the building has space to rent.
As an indication of prices in the road, a newly renovated office space measuring 42m² came to the market in August for R130/m² . More recently, a fully let multi-storey commercial building came under the hammer with a R12million starting price. Containing a gross lettable space of 5171m², the seven-unit property boasted a gross annual income of R3m, including operational costs.
Another space, measuring 400m², came to the market for R65/m² as a free-standing property ideally suited to a workshop or industrial premises. The single-storey building features a built-in mezzanine for storage.
Area is host to a broad range of businesses and services
Gama Classic Funerals
Gama Classic Funerals has grown from being a small business operating exclusively in Pietermaritzburg to having branches across KwaZulu-Natal. The company also carries out work in collaboration with strategic partners to provide a range of services related to funerals.
Durban Innercity Assembly
The Apostolic Church Durban Innercity Assembly provides religious sanctuary for its congregation.
An international company with regional headquarters in Dubai, Joburg and London, Kingsley Beverages produces, markets, sells and distributes its own range of beverage brands and products across Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Founded in 2007, the company aims to offer its customers a new choice in premium-quality soft drinks and alternative beverages at an affordable price. It produces carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices, energy and sports drinks, iced tea and bottled water.
One Stop Party Shop
This party supply and rental shop has provided party packs, toys, balloons, helium, serviettes, candles, costumes, wigs, masks, paints, polystyrene, baking goods and birthday backgrounds for a generation of customers.
Area lends itself to live, work, play
Its proximity to the city’s third-most expensive residential area, itself undergoing a shift to mixed-use, means King Dinuzulu Road has access to a mix of residential and commercial spaces.
Live, work, play
Forming part of the upmarket Berea, there are opportunities to live, work and socialise within a small geographical area. The nearby established residential houses in Stephen Dlamini Road (formerly Essenwood Road) and Musgrave Road afford opportunities to work near home. The neighbourhood is also renowned for its good educational facilities. Tree Tops School, established in 1932 to accommodate early preschoolers, Durban High School and Durban Girls’ College are some examples.
Proximity to the CBD and national infrastructure
King Dinuzulu Road is minutes from the Durban central business district, as well as having convenient access to national and provincial road infrastructure for those working and/or living near the neighbourhood.
Investment and development opportunities
There are opportunities for investors to acquire older properties and either refurbish them and convert them into office space or secure the rights through the proper heritage channels to demolish the buildings and construct a new complex.