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Westville central: Green, work, play

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Greenery, well-kept pavements and walkways, trees and indigenous plants make a significant statement.

Commercial property opportunities are booming in Westville central as the traditional residential neighbourhood embraces change and smaller businesses occupy older converted houses, or larger ones open doors in shopping centres and business parks.

A suburb of Durban situated 20km from the city’s central business district, and 30km from the Umhlanga CBD that has developed in the past 20 years, Westville is an established residential area with a long history. As a vast neighbourhood, Westville is broken down into various sub-regions with Westville central being the traditional commercial centre housing the shopping facilities and other commercial activities.

The area was laid out on the farm Westville, named in honour of Martin West, the first British lieutenant-governor of Natal, and formed in 1847. It was developed from a settlement of German immigrants who arrived in the area the following year, and Westville was declared a borough, with its own town council and mayor, in 1956.

It was incorporated into the eThekwini Municipality after the first inclusive local government elections, but has retained its sense of community and village characteristics. General impressions embrace greenery, well-kept pavements and walkways and public spaces with trees and indigenous plants making a significant statement throughout the zone.

According to commercial and industrial property group Strathmore, Westville has a significant competitive advantage in its central location and its natural beauty. 
Credited with being Durban’s leafiest suburb, Westville is “easy on the eye and provides a tranquil business setting”.

Its central location means employees and clients can benefit from easy access from virtually anywhere within the greater Durban area, and there are public transport options.

Westville Road and Church Street anchor the commercial centre for Westville central with the intersection home to several banks, estate agencies, fast-food outlets, restaurants and shopping centres.

Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Westville Road also accommodates Westville Junior Primary, Westville Senior Primary and Westville Girls’ High schools. Westville Boys’ High is along Jan Hofmeyr Road, the same street accommodating Business Partners.

The new conversions into commercial enterprises are happening in roads leading off those two main streets to include Maryvale Road, Lancaster Terrace, Brendon Lane, Caefron Avenue and Norfolk Terrace. However, the conversions have remained typically unobtrusive and have not detracted from the area’s characteristics.

The array of businesses operating from the leafy suburb reflect a cross-section of South Africa’s economy to embrace accountants, town planners, lawyers and conveyancers, estate agents, technology companies and home decor companies.

Opportunities exist both within converted residential properties and established commercial blocks and shopping centres, and the larger players include the Spar Group, Chep South Africa, Thekwini Toyota and Eskom Distribution regional head office.

In a sentimental link with history, the German honorary consulate has its offices in Westville central, sharing a converted house with the Royal Danish and Royal Norwegian consulates.

Investment opportunities are evident in the numerous properties available either to rent or buy. Westville has several commercial properties on its books in Westville central, including the well-known rental space that formerly housed the 24-hour convenience store Essentials.

The 195m² retail space, located in the heart of the residential area along Maryvale Road and forming part of the Salamander Centre shopping strip, is available for 

R200/m². The space is ideal for a convenience store, butchery, bakery, hardware store or restaurant, pub and grill.

Also on its books is an 80m² renovated office space close to the neighbourhood’s shopping malls, mosque and schools. 

Fully renovated and newly painted, the space boasts a reception area with three offices, kitchen and ablution facilities for R100/m², and would suit professionals like accountants and tax consultants.

Swindon Property has office space available within a five-unit block. The 100m² office demands a R135/m² rental excluding VAT for the first year with a 10% escalation and a minimum two-year lease.

The company also has a 58m² shop on its books situated in the Westville Junction shopping centre for R300/m² excluding VAT. That property carries a 10% rental escalation and has a minimum three-year lease.

Investors seeking properties to buy potentially have a wide range, if residential homes near existing commercial property conversions come to the market.

Find An Office has a 280m² stand-alone office on its books for R3.65 million. The site measures 2 024m² meaning the maximum building potential is 607m² with 30 parking bays (five per 100m²) and the property has been rezoned transitional.

The property has a tenant until the end of January.

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