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Mathews Meyiwa Rd: Home of the iconic Bunny Chow

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Various properties are available in this historic area at the bottom of the Berea, but security needs improvement

Located on the bottom of the Berea, Mathews Meyiwa (formerly Stamford Hill) Road has provided a commercial and light industrial element to the neighbourhood since its inception. Previously operating as a mixed-use area with older houses clustered between warehousing premises, the road is now dominated by smaller business.

Among the road’s features is the dominance of factory shops, particularly those related to the clothing industry. This provides opportunities for businesses to feed off each other’s strengths by attracting customers who are seeking specific products.

A landmark is The Queen’s Tavern. It was built as a gentlemen’s club in 1894, when it was known as the British Middle East Indian Sports and Social Dining Club. Legend has it that it is where Durban’s signature street food – the bunny chow, or curry served in a half or quarter loaf of bread and eaten with the hands – originated.

A revamped commercial space now available for the right investor. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

The Queen’s Tavern, now a secondhand goods retailer, is one of Durban’s few remaining links to its colonial past and is also the oldest licensed premises in the city. The building was restored in 1973 and declared a national monument in 1983.

But the area is renowned as a haven for prostitutes at night, and the crime levels are indicated by the heavy security around businesses. Barbed wire and cage-like fittings across entrances to the smaller shops should be viewed as a cry for help to authorities to deal with the unsavoury elements creeping into the neighbourhood.

Various properties are available for sale and to let. Premium Property and Asset Solutions has a 623m² property on the market for R1.9million facing on to Mathews Meyiwa Road. The main building covers 125m² with six offices, a large working or machinery area and a bathroom, while there is a 40m² flat at the back.

In April Tyson Properties brought a 3000m² building to the market as an opportunity for investors. Priced at R27.9m, it is on a corner plot with three road frontages; has three floors boasting industrial height dimensions; and drive-in access. The property suits conversion into a church or mosque, but could also accommodate industrial warehousing, or a clothing, panel-beating or cut-make-and-trim business. There is also planning permission for the building to be raised another two storeys.

Last week Property Nerds brought to the market a six-office commercial property for R1.65m. It has a single 125m² space for a main house and another 40m² for an outbuilding.

A row of older properties waiting for interested investors. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Among rentals, Just Property has a mini-factory on its books. The double-storey units offer 90m² of ground floor working area and staff ablutions, while the upstairs office is 49m². Units are available for R14500 a month.

Swindon Property has a 130m² rooftop office unit available for R100/m² in a building where an established clothing brand already occupies most of the available space. There is driveway access to the unit and for businesses seeking a larger premises, the company indicates the adjacent single office unit is also available.

Tyson Properties has a 65m² office space in Stamford Centre consisting of three air-conditioned rooms, one of which can be used as a boardroom. The property has its own kitchen and bathroom.

Kopp Commercial has a 125m² office facility that becomes available on August 1 on a negotiable lease. The first floor has separate offices and an open-plan area, and will suit any professional business entity. The asking rental is R100/m².

Butchery and premium lifestyle venue among businesses here

The iconic Mr Mozzie’s Butchery and Smokehouse. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Mr Mozzie’s

Founded in 1968, Mr Mozzie’s Butchery and Smokehouse has been a household name for local residents for decades for its range of more than 150 cold meats, sausages, pâtés, salamis, bacon, air-dried meats and fresh beef, pork and lamb cuts. The business also imports condiments, jams and preserves.

Abbey Naidoo and Co Attorneys

Abbey Naidoo established his own practice in December 1995 after completing his studies through the distance-learning University of South Africa. In a bid to serve a broader community, he included conveyancing and notarial competences to his portfolio and his mission is his determination to help community upliftment while mentoring young graduates for a confident entry into the profession.

Trend Designs International

Trend Designs International has been importing exclusive designer furniture to South Africa for more than a decade and catering for customers seeking quality pieces not typically available elsewhere in the country. Inherent in its philosophy is searching for items considered artworks rather than furniture.

The Billionaires Club is one of the businesses established in older houses along Mathews Meyiwa (Stamford Hill) Road in recent years. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

The Boss Lounge

Touted as a premium lifestyle venue, The Boss Lounge boasts multi-level floors of nightlife experience for Durban’s late-night revellers. The club includes a plush luxury leather interior and private tables for VIP experiences, and showcases renowned live entertainment from its resident DJ.

The Spice Lounge

Indian Cuisine Another touch of the city’s culture is reflected in The Spice Lounge, a restaurant regarded as being “all about food, fun and bringing people together with a little Durban flavour”.

Benefits for commercial initiatives in the area

Real estate signs reflect the demand for older buildings ripe for conversion. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Tax break

The area falls under the government’s designated urban rejuvenation programmes and thus offers incentives to entrepreneurs who are looking to acquire these buildings for revamping and redevelopment.

Close to good amenities

Located on the bottom end of the Berea, Mathews Mewiya (Stamford Hill) Road provides easy access to outstanding social and economic amenities. Residential properties in the area have always promised sought-after desirability and pricing, meaning there is the opportunity to work close to the family home. The area also offers residents proximity to good government and private schools as well as places of worship and entertainment.

Properties available for redevelopment

There is an abundance of properties available for purchase and redevelopment in the area, either for selling to another investor who is seeking rental income or for personal and business expansion.

Good infrastructure

The area is within easy reach of the Durban railway station, roads and transport networks as well as taxi routes for those employees who require public transport to work. 

Opportunities for businesses to feed off each other

The concentration of clothing outlets in particular means the area attracts customers likely to meander between shops to find what they’re really looking for.

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