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Waterfall: Escape and hide from the hustle

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Residents and business owners are out of the city, but are still close to many conveniences and sound economic infrastructure

Once an even quieter, more remote peri-urban neighbourhood than its close cousin Hillcrest, Waterfall is now also benefiting from the dramatic growth in the eThekwini outer west suburbs. As development along Inanda Road expands, Hillcrest and Waterfall are increasingly merging into a single mixed-use residential and commercial hub located directly north of Kloof and adjacent to Forest Hills, roughly 30km west of the Durban CBD

Its greatest appeal remains the ability for residents and business owners or investors to “escape the city life” while still being within close reach of convenience, sound economic infrastructure, an affluent customer base and good social structures, including schools, hospitals and shopping facilities.

Waterfall has been long associated with the outer reaches of greater Durban, and once enjoyed the autonomy of its own local council ahead of the unicity initiative that forged the eThekwini Municipality.

The beauty of Africa, where commerce and traditional lifestyles often co-exist. The grass in front of the Woodland Industrial Park provides grazing for the local goats. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

A milestone in Waterfall’s economic development was the demolition of the Waterfall shopping centre in favour of the R700million Watercrest Mall development that opened in 2015. The 45000m² complex brought national retail brands to the neighbourhood with anchor tenants including SuperSpar, Checkers, Dis-Chem, Woolworths, Game and Edgars. There are also specialist line store offerings, a food court and Ster Kinekor movie theatres for additional entertainment options among the 120 outlets.

The mall functions as a regional shopping centre catering for the commercial requirements of residents living in Hillcrest, Waterfall, Molweni, Inanda, upper Kloof, Linkhills, Bothas Hill and Assegay, bringing competition to The Pavilion Shopping Centre in Westville that was the first regional shopping centre in KwaZulu-Natal.

Watercrest Mall was the brainchild of local family property development company Rowles Group and JSE-listed property fund Acucap, now part of Growthpoint Properties.

Less than 2km away from the mall, along Brackenhill Road, is the heart of Waterfall’s industrial parks and larger industrial operations. Surrounded by electric fences and protected with 24-hour security, there is a slew of business units in Inanda Business Park, Woodland Industrial Park, Pecanwood Industrial Estate, Rockwood Business Park, Marken Place, Brackenhill Park, Pinelands Industrial Park, Chestnut Grove Industrial Estate and Nutwood Industrial Park. Several self-storage companies operate businesses in the same area. One of the more unusual tenants found in the area is Wet Rock Adventures, an indoor water theme park operating from Chestnut Grove Industrial Estate.

There are significant commercial and industrial property rental and purchase opportunities currently on the market in Waterfall. Earlier this month Index Property Solutions listed a 117m² retail space for R190/m², indicating there are retail space opportunities within the shopping centre where Pick * Pay operates as the anchor tenant.

Pinelands Industrial Park is one of the business parks located in Waterfall, many of which have tenants in the food manufacturing industry. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Kopp Commercial has a mini-factory outlet covering 343m² available for renting at R60/m². Situated on Nguni Road, the mini-factory is within an upmarket business park offering electric fencing and 24-hour security. A closed-circuit television camera system has been installed for additional visual security.

Investors seeking to acquire commercial and/or industrial property may consider a site located within the Rockwood Business Park. Listed with Peter Maskell Auctioneers and carrying a R900000 asking price, the unit covers 156m² and comprises an open-plan factory area with a roll-up galvanised door for vehicle access.

The property is serviced by factory lighting and the factory area includes a small office with tiled flooring and a suspended ceiling.

Funnell Properties has a 4.2 ha vacant land site on the market for R10.9million zoned for light industrial development. The property has a minimum subdivision area of 900m², a 50% coverage and two-storey height restriction and permitted use on the land includes commercial workshop, cottage industry building, light industrial building, public office, service industrial building and warehousing.

Special consent uses include agricultural building, agricultural land, arts and crafts workshop, betting depot, funeral parlour, garage, laundrette, office building, parking garage, private recreational area, recreational building, restaurant, service station, shop, tuck shop and retail nursery.

Local and national businesses operating in the area

The DuBoirs Boutique Lodge in Waterfall can accommodate up to 300 conference delegates. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

The DuBoirs Boutique Lodge

This hide-away promises guests an opportunity to immerse themselves in luxury and elegance against a sophisticated backdrop. It is ideal for discerning business travellers or as a romantic weekend sanctuary while conferencing facilities can accommodate up to 300 delegates. 

MD Tool Hire and Building Supply

This local Waterfall company offers customers access to tool hire, purchases and repairs as well as building materials for construction, DIY projects and gardening quests. 

Bathroom Bizarre

National chain Bathroom Bizarre was founded in 1995 as a family business which today has emerged as among South Africa’s leading sanitary-ware suppliers. Anchored by its promise to cut down on the usual retail frills to ensure quality products at the lowest possible prices, the company now has nearly 30 stores stocking local and international sanitary-ware brands. 

The rapid development of commercial activity within Waterfall demanded the widening of the area’s main access route, Inanda Road. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Crinkley Bottom Park

Situated on the banks of the Nkutu River, Crinkley Bottom Park is discreetly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life to provide an idyllic setting for fairytale weddings, functions, cocktail parties and baby showers. The name pays homage to the property’s history as the former nudist resort operated by Beau Brummell.

Imbazo Foods

Founded by Craig Mee in 2003, Imbazo Foods has grown from operating out of small rented premises with a single production line to a modern factory with multi-product lines in 2011. Management is designing and building another factory in conjunction to its existing facility, and its Jiggies brand name products are sold throughout South Africa and exported to Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

Many commercial opportunities

The Waterfall Educare centre speaks to the demand for crèches and educational facilities for the children of working parents. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Property development

There are development opportunities available as vacant land is released for development, residential properties are rezoned for small business use, and the urban expansion that has seen nearby Hillcrest transformed from a peri-urban smallholding community into a modern suburb shift towards Waterfall. Demand for developments includes retirement villages, gated communities and commercial ventures from warehousing to self-storage facilities and others. 

Accommodation and conferencing facilities

The commercial growth that has been experienced generally in the outer west neighbourhoods has paved the way for business-related accommodation and conferencing facilities. The relatively large properties typical for older residential properties in Waterfall make conversion into bed and breakfast establishments or larger boutique hotels and conferencing centres a feasible alternative, while the proximity to nature provides idyllic settings for wedding photographs or team-building projects.

Tourism initiatives

Waterfall falls under the 1000 Hills Experience tourism brand. Investors have the opportunity to link their businesses to an established association known for attracting tourists. Commercial property initiatives linked to tourism can include boutique hotels, smaller catering outlets and nature-based projects. 

Educational facilities

Waterfall’s growing population, linked to the growth in gated communities and higher density property developments that have attracted young families, also provides opportunities for establishing educational facilities. These can include pre-primary and formal schooling outlets as well as higher education or distance learning initiatives.

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