Home of batters and bowlers in KZN for close to a century, Kingsmead has been developed into a thriving office park in which a cricket oval takes centre stage
Kingsmead has been the KwaZulu-Natal home of cricket since 1923, hosting countless international test matches over the years as well as the annual Boxing Day event, one-day internationals and provincial games.
When it was decided to develop a new office park complex across the road, the developers incorporated a cricketing theme when building Kingsmead Office Park – a cricket oval takes centre stage and acts as a green lung for the employees working in the buildings that surround it.
The outcome is a modern inner-city office park focused around a central cricket ground that the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) uses as a practice field and for club cricket matches.
The park is within easy striking distance of the Durban central business district, beachfront, International Convention Centre Durban, Moses Mabhida Stadium and leading hotels.
Established in 1998, the first building in Kingsmead Office Park was completed and occupied in 2000 by Grindrod Bank and auditing firm KPMG, both of which still occupy their original premises. Subsequently, the park has become the home of major financial institutions including the Standard Bank regional head office and Al Baraka Bank.
Premier Property Management chief executive Colin Schenk says the two banks and Bidvest McCarthy Toyota own their buildings with the balance leased to tenants. Rentals touch R150/m² with investors having benefited from a stable, consistent tenant base over the years.
Today, the park is home to a variety of businesses from the consul-general of India to property management company Evaluations, K Line Shipping (South Africa), various tenants in Rennie House, Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), eThekwini Municipality parks, recreation and culture unit and parastatal Transnet, which occupies three buildings in the zone.
There are no plans to expand the office park, but the three vacant sites have been sold and are under plans for development.
“The office park offers a prime inner-city location with all the features of a suburban office park such as security, a landscaped environment and accessibility to clients as well as excellent metropolitan links. Employees within the park enjoy a safe and pleasant environment in a central location easily accessed from all areas in and around Durban,” Schenk says.
Cricket is not the only historical link within the park. The original development rights were provided with the rider that both the Durban Hindu Temple Shree Thakurdwara and Dharmashala and the Baptist Mission Church remain intact and the two religious centres, alongside the KZNCU, are honorary members of the Kingsmead Office Park Lot Owners’ Association.
Situated in Somsteu Road, the Durban Hindu Temple is the last of three temples originally built to serve the 1860 Indian settler community and is among the oldest temples in KwaZulu-Natal. The other two temples were demolished to accommodate the magistrate’s court and the new Durban station.
Al Baraka Bank chief executive Shabir Chohan says the bank acquired the land for its national headquarters in 2005, with the iconic building completed in September 2009. Several advantages had prompted the investment into Kingsmead Office Park, including the locality, accessibility and table top land on which the flagship branch could be erected.
The park environment that promises security for both clients and employees was another deciding factor.
“The new investment also enabled Al Baraka to have its own Durban-based head office in a new financial hub with a building design that can be identified across the city’s skyline. Since moving into the zone, the office park has grown significantly with two new buildings,” he says.
Schenk says the cricket field around which the office park has been built provides a green lung in the centre of a business environment.