Intended as a light-industrial area, it has become a mixed-use suburb including residential and commercial properties
The middle to upper-income suburb of Pinetown lies between Westville and Kloof along the M13 highway and the N3 national freeway. The neighbourhood was originally established around the Wayside Hotel in 1850 which was the stop-off point along the main wagon route between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It was named after the then-governor of Natal, Sir Benjamin Pine.
Initially Pinetown was perceived as a light industrial town, but over decades has transformed into a mixed-use area combining residential, commercial and light industrial properties. Some operations are shifting with global trends and urbanisation to become office premises among residential properties.
Ashley Pinetown is one of several individual neighbourhoods within the broader Pinetown suburb. Others include Caversham Glen, Cowies Hill, Farningham Ridge, Fields Hill, Hatton Estates, Highland Hills, Manors, Mariannhill, Mariannheights, Marianhill Park, Moseley, Nagina, New Germany, Padfield Park, Paradise Valley, Pinelands, Pinetown Central, Sarnia, The Wolds, Woodside and Wyebank to stretch across a wide section of the inner highway district.
Ashley Pinetown has a variety of smaller commercial properties from which tenants and/or owners operate their businesses, including Pinewood Park, Wareing Park and Gillitts Road Industrial Park. Other large-scale investments have included the new Mercedes-Benz showroom and the former home of the Jeep brand, located on the adjacent property.
Rawson Commercial agent Marietjie Viljoen says current market demand reflects Pinetown as a more popular investment region than neighbouring Westmead or New Germany. This is driven by the affordable rents and its accessibility; smaller properties to buy or let are scarce.
“There is huge demand for these smaller properties. When they come on the market, they are considered sound investments for buy-to-let purchasers looking for annuity income,” she says.
Currently the market has a dominance of larger properties, around the 4500m² mark, for acquisition.
Mindry Properties agent Keith Wilson concurs, saying Pinetown has always offered good value and opportunities for a variety of reasons. These include its central location and accessibility to Durban, as well as north and south of the city, without traffic hassles, and its ability to match demand and supply.
He says rents are rising in the neighbourhood as the potential for new developments reaches its zenith. Investors looking for buy-to-let properties are likely to make sound returns.
In line with Viljoen’s comments, there is not a wide range of commercial properties currently for sale, but Ashley Pinetown still has interest for investors and business owners.
Three properties on the books of various estate agents reflect the prices asked for these types of buildings.
The first, in a prime location boarding the Westmead industrial area, is 1779m² of level land with two buildings already constructed for R4.5million. In line with the area, the property has easy access to the freeways and will suit an entrepreneur looking for premises from which to operate a business or to let it for annual income.
A commercial space measuring 250m² is on the market for R5.2m and offers the potential for rental income, either from student accommodation or as a commercial factory.
The third property, carrying a R1.999m price tag for 150m², operates as a nursery and is being sold as a going concern. Acquiring the business and the house has a R3.048m price tag.
There are a wide range of commercial property rentals currently on the market with prices ranging from R39/m² to R150/m², depending on the size of the property and its location. Some of the properties include parking, value added tax and utilities, while others are exclusive of these elements.
Additional information can be obtained from the various estate agents.
Businesses range from charity shops to camping emporiums
The original distributor of Sharp products in South Africa, Seartec opened in 1968. Over this time it has been committed to innovation in being positioned as a key market player catering for both individual and corporate requirements.
Highway Hospice Charity Shop
The Highway Hospice is one of Durban’s oldest non-profit organisations and has been providing hospice and palliative care to the eThekwini community for more than 35 years. The organisation believes people have the right to a beautiful life and dignity in death. Its three charity shops – the largest in Ashley Pinetown – provide part of the funding for its work.
Flowerpark Nursery and Garden Centre
Operating across the road from the Highway Hospice Charity Shop, Flowerpark Nursery and Garden Centre is the embodiment of peace and tranquillity amid the hubbub of modern living. Aside from the plants, the business tempts customers with its array of knick-knacks as well as an opportunity to take a load off one’s feet with a quiet cup of coffee and a bite to eat.
A multinational medical technology company, Stryker offers a diverse array of innovative medical technologies including reconstructive, medical, surgical and neurotechnology and spine products. The company’s products and services are available in more than 100 countries.
Campworld Natal Caravans & Marine
The retail brand under which caravan manufacturer Jurgens Ci distributes its products locally, Campworld is a familiar sight in Ashley Pinetown. In addition to caravans and trailers, the outlet sells camping equipment and accessories including tents, awnings and covers.
Another multinational operating in the neighbourhood, Phoenix Contact specialises in innovation for the electrical engineering sector. The company works towards a single objective – to offer its customers the best solution when facing any electrical engineering or automation task.
JH Allen & Associates
Founded by John Allen in 1999, independent financial planning company JH Allen & Associates strives to deliver a high standard of excellence to its clients. The 14-strong team seeks to partner with people who aspire to have financial protection and freedom.
Advantages include good transport links
Ashley is an established neighbourhood with a mix of commercial and residential properties. This provides a platform from which businesses can grow, supported by the local community and its market demands.
Good road infrastructure
The Pinetown central business district and its hive of motor traderelated companies operating along Josiah Gumede Road (Old Main Road) and Ashley Pinetown are separated by the M13 highway. Access to the N3 national freeway as well as the N2 national road is also easy, meaning businesses in the area have easy access to market.
Proximity to Pinetown CBD
While Ashley Pinetown remains overwhelmingly residential, the proximity to the Pinetown CBD works in its favour. The business hub attracts a diverse range of consumers that will also provide commercial benefit to the broader community.
Ashley Pinetown has several good development opportunities, from open land for development and from the shifting global dynamic that has witnessed former residential properties converted into business premises.
Sound social infrastructure
As an established community, Ashley Pinetown also has excellent social infrastructure. This includes good government schools (the most prominent being the Afrikaans Gelofte Skool, but there are several English schools too), churches and neighbourhood watch organisations. This means business owners are frequently able to live close to where they work.