The explosion of growth in the Umhlanga region has had a positive impact on nearby areas
Over the past two decades, Durban has experienced a significant shift away from traditional CBD and Berea towards the north. As Tongaat Hulett Developments has released former agricultural land for residential and commercial development, the explosion in people and businesses operating north of the Umgeni River has prompted property analysts to refer to the Umhlanga region as having a dynamism equivalent to Sandton in Gauteng.
Consequently, there has been a knock-on effect on established residential areas north of the Umgeni River (the southern boundary defining the Durban North suburbs from Durban). Durban North is strategically located halfway between the CBD and Umhlanga, and has traditionally been a well-heeled residential zone, but there are now sound examples of how the influx northwards is changing property use.
Mackeurtan Avenue, Adelaide Tambo Road (Kensington Drive) and Swapo Road (Broadway) have mushroomed into new commercial zones as next-door neighbours to multi-million-rand residential houses. Mackeurtan Avenue specifically has emerged as a culinary hotspot, both for savouring a romantic dinner or grabbing a takeaway when cooking is not an option, and now rivals Florida Road on the Berea for its restaurant offerings.
Among the premier restaurants are The Wok Box, Mayfair Café, Connor’s Public House and El Toro. Other commercial operations that have created a village-type atmosphere along Mackeurtan Avenue include Hope Meats Supplies, an outlet relentless in its commitment to providing free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free meat; Nev The Barber as a modern take on the traditional barber experience; Wu Chi Fresh Market as suppliers of all Far Eastern food requirements; and Northlands Pharmacy.
The road also includes Northwood Boys’ High School and the newly established co-educational high school Oakridge College.
Carol Reynolds of Pam Golding Properties Durban North says given its prime location and convenient features, there is a constant demand for property in Durban North to underpin these investments as sound decisions.
“The Durban North precinct is becoming a sought-after commercial node with zoning geared towards residential-office conversion. This central grid offers end-users the opportunity to own their own commercial premises with the additional benefit of a financing option that spans 20 years,” she says, indicating there are exceptional commercial opportunities along Adelaide Tambo Road and Mackeurtan Avenue.
Despite, or maybe because of, the current economic situation, there are commercial properties on the market for renting and purchasing. Pricing varies in line with the space available, but does reflect the upmarket characteristics of the area.
Currently, there is a modern redesigned office space measuring 82m2 with the monthly rental pegged at R20500 (or R250/m2). There is also a 190m2 office available for R20000 a month (or R105/m2) that comprises a reception area, boardroom, open-plan office, three separate offices and on-site parking.
On the market is a 265m2 modern office facility, fully air-conditioned with kitchen and bathrooms and two outside offices, with an asking price of R5.75million. Located on level land for parking availability, the property size exceeds 1100m2.
Another building, on the market for R4m, is currently leased to five tenants and boasts spacious 211m2 offices and 15 parking bays as well as outbuilding offices. Finally, a commercially zoned office space with an on-site granny flat offers its owners a residential component at a R5.75m asking price.
Authentic barber shop, tattoo studio offer special services
Leon de Vos Optometrist
Operating from the Woolworths Centre, Leon de Vos and his staff have been serving the eye healthcare needs of the community for more than two decades. The business stocks a comprehensive range of fashionable frames and sunglasses, and De Vos guarantees his patients personal service for tests, spectacles, contact lenses and prescription glasses.
Fine Line Tattoo and Piercing Studio
Fine Line Tattoo & Piercing is the brainchild of businessmen and body modification enthusiasts Etienne Louw and Wade Latham, together with professional tattoo artist Adrian Kok, body piercer Dylan van den Berg and studio manager Jade du Plessis. The team recognises the importance of high-quality artistry, hygiene and customer experience, and aims to promote the integrity of their artwork.
Part of the international franchise pet shop group, Petland arrived in South Africa in 1999 and carries products to suit virtually all animal needs. The store specialises in dog, cat, reptile, fish, bird and other small-animal products as well as holding fish and small animal livestock.
A small co-educational high school Oakridge College has its sights set on providing a dynamic learning environment where current class sizes of 12 pupils ensure teachers can provide individual attention. The school aims to offer an environment in which students can fully develop intellectual, physical, moral, social and artistic powers to cope with, succeed in and contribute to changing society for the better when they emerge as young adults. The school is provisionally accredited by the Umalusi Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training.
Nev The Barber Nev
The Barber was born out of a passion to create a place where men could receive quality haircuts. Captivated by good design, geat coffee and exceptional haircuts, Nev wanted to create a space that delivered an authentic, but modern barber experience.
Opportunities in an accessible area
Sound residential neighbourhood
Durban North is a long-established, upper-middle class suburb with a sound and loyal residential community. The disposable income levels mean new businesses have an opportunity to succeed as the residents have the means to support them.
Located about halfway between the traditional Durban central business district and the emerging economic hub of Umhlanga, the area is easily accessible from the M4 highway and N2 national freeways. The small-aircraft Virginia Airport is within walking distance of Mackeurtan Avenue, and King Shaka International Airport is reached via either the M4 or the N2.
The area is well served with social and community infrastructure, including outstanding government and private schools, medical, dental businesses, churches and other places of worship, plus security provided by private companies and the South African Police force. Entertainment demands are equally met with an extensive array of restaurants offering cuisines from around the world. Also there shopping centres.
As Mackeurtan Avenue continues its shift into a mixed-use neighbourhood, older residential properties will come to the market for potential redevelopment into commercial space. Alternatively, there are opportunities for developers to remodel older houses and return them to the market as modern homes for today’s families.