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Pietermaritzburg: Hub on the Midlands fringe

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The KZN provincial capital is full of historical attractions and places of interest, and is attractive for commercial and business investors.

Founded in 1838 and currently governed
by the Msunduzi local municipality,
Pietermaritzburg is the KwaZulu-Natal
provincial capital and the region’s secondlargest
city.

Throughout the city, numerous
buildings still speak to its history, capturing
the era of Natal Victorian architecture
in their red face-brick and wraparound
verandah designs, while the city hall lays
claim to being the world’s largest brick
building.
Built from 1893 to 1900 and
boasting a 47m high tower, the building is
now a national monument.
Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business
CEO Melanie Veness says the city is also
regionally important as an industrial hub,
producing aluminium, timber and dairy
products.
It has sound commercial and
retail areas with the Maritzburg Mall along
Church Street having been a thriving retail
node for decades.
Other shopping areas have been
developed in the CBD, including Victoria
Road, while further out of the city centre
are small shopping centres and office blocks
as well as the multimillion-rand regional
Midlands Liberty Mall which has undergone
several expansions since opening its doors
15 years ago.
Commercial and industrial property
opportunities abound within
Pietermaritzburg. Currently Profile Property Commercial and Industrial has
70 commercial properties advertised on its
website for sale and another 90 to let.
A reflection of the industry is an 89m²
office in Chase Valley on the market for
R963 870 including VAT.
The renovated
offices and shops are close to the N3
between Liberty Midlands Mall and the
Cascades Shopping Centre and
also pose an opportunity for
investors looking for prime
commercial space. 
The variety of industries from dairy farming to rolled products are important to the city’s economy. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography
A
4 958m² plot of vacant
land at the developing
Victoria Country Club
Estate is on the market
for R1.5 million.
It sits in
the verdant Town Bush
Valley on a north-facing
slope with an open and
scenic environment and
comprises a combination
of freehold residential homes,
sectional title apartments and
business park sites to cater for a variety
of lifestyle and investment requirements.
In Pietermaritzburg Central there is
availability for investors to acquire a
1 000m² office for R15m.
The building
includes a separate reception area,
numerous offices and 21 undercover
parking bays.
Rental options in the city include another
Pietermaritzburg Central office space,
specifically a prime Winston Road house to let, of 120m² for a monthly rate of
R80/m².
In Cascades a small business can
consider an 18m² fully serviced office
currently renting for R180/m², while a
larger commercial venture may require the
1 665m² office in Wembley for a monthly
rental of R165/m².
Among the more significant
commercial and industrial
investments into
Pietermaritzburg was the
announcement in 1996
that the boards of Hulett
Aluminium and Tongaat
Hulett had approved the
R2.4 billion expansion
programme in the
rolled products business.
This investment into
the Hulamin aluminium
plant increased the annual
capacity of the rolling mill
fourfold to 200 000 tons and
paved the way for the company to
expand its product range and sales into
more than 65 countries.
There are thriving commercial and retail areas, and one like this is open for development. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography
A decade later Hulett Aluminium’s
shareholders approved another R950m
investment project for the rolled products
business with Hulamin CEO Richard Jacob
indicating the JSE-listed company continues
investing in aluminium rolling and extrusion
technology today to meet the requirements
of its customers.
However, when announcing the original expansion, the directors indicated the most
noteworthy element of the investment
was not the expansion itself, but the
downstream impact it would trigger for
new entrepreneurs to establish and grow
businesses based on the aluminium industry.
Today the city is home to a widespread
range of aluminium-based companies with
Aquaria Glass & Aluminium, Duro Glass Aluminium Sand & Stone Distributors and
DCM Aluminium & Steel being examples.
However, maybe the final word on the
city belongs to its business voice.
“The
development of business is key in alleviating
poverty and addressing unemployment and
in my position as chamber CEO, I hope to
play a greater role in helping develop this
sector,” Veness says.
Property Guide(IOS)
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