Friday, December 14

Umbogintwini: Hive of activity growing rapidly

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Land rezoning means opportunities for investors and developers abound

A corruption of the Zulu word eZimbokodweni meaning “site where small, round grinding stones are collected”, Umbogintwini has long been associated with industrial development and been the commercial support for people living in neighbouring Amanzimtoti. The area is 23km south-west of the Durban CBD and 4km north-east of Amanzimtoti.

Irish explosives manufacturer Kynoch had established its production plant in Arklow and in 1907 industrialist and Kynoch chairman Arthur Chamberlain visited South Africa in a bid to find land on which to found another factory.

He bought 566ha in Umbogintwini and in October that year 23 Irish workers and their families sailed from Southampton to work as factory hands at the new Kynoch factory in Umbogintwini, living in Amanzimtoti and Isipingo before the Umbogintwini village took shape.

In 1924, African Explosives and Industries (the forerunner to AECI) became a registered company with its primary purpose being to provide blasting explosives and detonators to the gold and diamond mines. However, the company was also South Africa’s only producer of phosphatic fertiliser and had factories in Modderfontein (1896), Somerset West (1903) and Umbogintwini (1908). According to the AECI subsidiary Chemicals Initiative’s website, the facility has the capacity to produce 500 tons of sulphuric acid daily and operates as a double absorption four-pass convertor plant. However, AECI had earlier sold off excess land for redevelopment that became the Umbogintwini industrial complex.

Privately owned real estate development company Keystone Investments has been a major player in bringing new investment and commercial opportunities to Umbogintwini. The company develops, owns and manages shopping centres, office parks and business centres and in the past decade has brought to the neighbourhood the two major shopping centres Galleria Mall and Arbour Crossing Retail Centre as well as developed Makro at Arbour Town, the Nissan Motor dealership and Arbour Junction.

Under construction are Arbour Grove Office Park, Arbour Town Commercial and Retail Precinct and Arbour Sands apartments.

Galleria Mall and Arbour Crossing Retail Centre reflect the ability of Umbogintwini to accommodate mass retail space. Opened in November 2009, Galleria combines national retail giants as well as boutique stores, entertainment facilities, fashion outlets and restaurants into 90000m². Arbour Crossing is a contemporary value centre accommodating home fashions, convenience shopping and quick service restaurants in an open-strip layout spanning more than 43000m².

Venator Materials Corporation is offering its land and assets for sale by tender. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

The latter was the first development within the multi-phased Arbour Town commercial and retail precinct expansion – a 40ha initiative including mixed-use, zoned and serviced land being developed by Keystone Investment. Galleria, Makro and Arbour Crossing represent 145000m² of shopping to anchor the precinct. Keystone’s Cherie Metzler says the next phase of the development is well under way.

“Given the commuter transport within the precinct consisting of a railway station and taxi ranks, it offers a wide opportunity for retail, light industrial, motor dealers, showrooms and offices specifically for call centres and cottage industry. The new dug-out harbour will add to the attraction of this destination and Keystone will develop to tenants’ requirements,” Metzler says.

Construction has begun on expanding the office building and on completion, Arbour Grove Office Park will comprise 3000m² of gross lettable space. Metzler says it is expected that another two blocks comprising 3000m² each will be developed.

Arbour Sands Apartments will bring 192 sectional title apartments to the market in one, two and three-bedroom units. Phase four is under construction with occupation expected by next April.

Another investment opportunity is a 28ha prime industrial redevelopment. African commercial property services company Broll Property Group has called for tender invitations on the substantial industrial property site that includes rail access. Broll senior industrial broker KwaZulu-Natal Anthon Van Weers says global chemical company Venator Materials Corporation has terminated its manufacturing activities at the Umbogintwini site and now wants to present the land and the assets for sale by tender. Zoned general industrial (except for 2.2ha zoned private open space), the site was commissioned in 1962 and used for chemical production until 2016.

Tenders close on July 31.

There are a substantial number of rental properties available, many for immediate occupation.

Rentals range from a 324m² office asking R44/m² to a 166m2 office at R337/m². Other options range between R70/m² and R155/m².

On the market for purchase is vacant land comprising 12999m² with an asking price exceeding R20million. The land is zoned service industry and its size renders the site suitable for warehousing and storage or as a vehicle distribution centre.

Newly developed office space to let in Umbogintwini. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Businesses include technology, logistics and investigations

ComPrac

KwaZulu-Natal Health, safety and legal compliance consultants ComPrac KwaZulu-Natal assists clients with every aspect of health, safety and legal compliance throughout projects.

Masimo Chemicals Logistics

Through the accredited transporters, Masimo Chemicals Logistics has taken the responsibility for the delivery of product intact to customers from the Sapref Refinery. The company is poised to grow the business by expanding its markets and products.

Combined Private Investigations

The name originated after experienced law enforcement agents, forensic investigators and corporate security officials came together to investigate a high-level cartel for its client, one of the country’s largest parastatals. Today the company not only investigates criminal cases, it also has a skilled task team arresting criminals; qualified forensic investigators; and experienced legal teams responsible for the court cases.

The Makro building represents another large investment in Umbogintwini. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Ulwandle Technology Solutions

Founded in 2000, Ulwandle Technology Solutions is a wholly black-owned and managed technology company that aims to maximise its clients’ returns on investment while providing holistic solutions. Management has a clearly defined understanding of health, safety and environmental issues as well as the permits and licences required for information technology and construction projects.

Keystone Investments

Keystone Investments is a privately owned real estate development company that develops, owns and manages shopping centres, office parks and business centres. With a streamlined organisational structure, decisions on its participation in new developments can be finalised within days.

Tracts of land ready for development

Land for development

Land rezoning has opened up new tracts for development. This provides investors and developers with the opportunity to build in line with tenants’ specifications or for rental in smaller office units. 

Land for development awaits investors – the resident vervets will have to find another home. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Labour

As a sad reflection of South Africa’s current economic growth and unemployment levels, there is a substantial supply of labour available within a 5km radius of any new commercial or industrial development. This can be drawn from Umbogintwini and the neighbouring areas of Isipingo and Amanzimtoti and will range from unskilled to semi-skilled and skilled.

Sound infrastructure

Umbogintwini is serviced with sound national and regional road and rail infrastructure. Located on the N2 national freeway, the area is also serviced by rail with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) upgrading the signals to the Umbogintwini station. The port of Durban is just 23km away.

Construction of residential apartments is among the various business opportunities open to investors. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Established businesses

The advantage of an established business neighbourhood is the capacity for developers, investors and company owners to benefit from symbiosis. Typically clusters of business types congregate within the same logistical space to provide networking opportunities and downstream businesses.

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