Watch city life slow down while witnessing a shifting landscape as commercial, residential interests expand to meet new needs
Meandering west from the Chatterton Road N3 traffic circle in Pietermaritzburg to Town Bush Road, Montgomery Drive and finally to the R103 Old Howick Road passing through Hilton before taking travellers to Howick, is a regression in time.
That trip began in the busy motor vehicle and commercial hub located around the traffic circle before wandering past the government institutions of Fort Napier Psychiatric and Grey’s General hospitals with their Victorian histories; through the upmarket residential suburbs of Wembley and Athlone; past the Victoria Country Club Estate (on the opposite side of the N3 national freeway) with its new residential developments taking shape where golfing greens have been redeveloped; and up Town Hill until it reaches Worlds View.
A detour along Chase Valley Road under the N3 is rewarded with a remarkable example of Natal Victorian architecture, complete with a wrought iron latticework, wrap-around veranda and green tin roof. Another detour on to Worlds View Road ends at the view site memorial that honours the early Voortrekkers who first used the route and the later transport riders who pioneered trails into the Natal hinterland and opened up land that was to evolve into its colloquialism, The Last Outpost.
It is an experience to watch city life slowly calming down (there are even horses grazing on open land at the original traffic circle) while witnessing the shifting landscape as commercial interests spread their influence.
A key commercial shift along the route is the R250 million Athlone Circle Retail Centre currently under construction in the vicinity of the Old Howick Road (R103) and Montgomery
Drive traffic circles.
Recognised as one of the largest commercial property initiatives into Pietermaritzburg this year, the project is being developed by Willmeg Investments, the Mattland Holdings property development subsidiary.
Mattland managing director Paul McCabe says construction on the vacant land located next to the N3 national highway began last August, with completion scheduled for March 2019. The development brings to the market 7 000m2 of retail space and another 4 000m2 of A-grade office space, the latter aimed at professional and other services wanting to operate within a vibrant space.
“A community-centric development, the Athlone Circle Retail Centre is ideally located and interconnected at the crossroads of the northern suburbs and Pietermaritzburg’s main arterial network.
“This will offer its users increased convenience and accessibility – an iconic development that will serve as the new benchmark in A-grade office and retail space,” McCabe says.
The Fourways Property Group has advertising boards indicating it will develop the land in Athlone on which now stand several derelict Pietermaritzburg and District MOTH cottages, while further along the route is the redeveloped Victoria Country Club Estate.
Located on the other side of the N3 to Old Howick Road, this estate evolved from the redevelopment of the original Victoria golf course and now boasts an upgraded golf course, country club facilities and land for development into residential freestanding and sectional title housing as well as business premises.
Currently on the market in the area are two vacant plots, one for R10m and another for R19m, offering an opportunity to develop one estate with 60 units and a second with 20 units.
Top school for chefs, wildlife organisation operate here
Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine
The renowned Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine offers an 18-month intensive and internationally recognised chef’s course with a maximum intake of 15 students. Students work alongside award-winning chef Cameron, and the school provides an opportunity to experience “all things foodie” in a safe, secure environment.
Worlds View One Life Church and Conference Centre
One Life Church is a non-denominational multi-site church which relates to the New Covenant Ministries International. One Life Church is based in Pietermaritzburg, but meets in locations across KwaZulu-Natal and adheres to a sound belief in raising and developing leaders within the church.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Located opposite the N3 national freeway is the head office for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the provincial agency mandated with managing KwaZulu-Natal’s nature conservation. The organisation develops and promotes eco-tourism facilities within more than 120 protected wildlife areas and is recognised for strides made in sustainable biodiversity conservation.
A Garden Suite Bed & Breakfast
Situated in lush Athlone, A Garden Suite Bed & Breakfast is an idyllic spot from which to explore Midmar Dam and the lower end of the Midlands Meander, or as corporate accommodation for those working in the Pietermaritzburg CBD or Hilton.
CMH Nissan Pietermaritzburg
Apart from its new car sales, CMH Nissan Pietermaritzburg has a full complement of demo and pre-owned Nissan vehicles. Its fully stocked parts and service department can handle any clients’ concerns from routine services to larger repairs.
Headz Hair & Beauty Salon
This salon invites patrons into a space away from city’s hustle and bustle. Using only German-engineered Goldwell products, the salon offers all clients treatments and services for special occasions as well as the indulgence of a professional haircut.
Advantages offered by this area
Land for development
Older houses located on properties too large for modern living, coupled with shifting land use, means there is site available for purchase and development. Examples include the old Victoria Golf Course, now converted into the Victoria Country Club with upmarket residential housing developments under construction and abandoned MOTH cottages.
While the R103 itself is relatively quaint infrastructure as the old road connecting Durban to the hinterland, there is also excellent modern infrastructure within easy access. This includes the N3 between the coast and Gauteng.
Sound social services
The neighbourhood has sound social services, including renowned government and private schooling, churches and other places of worship, private and public hospital facilities as well as commercial developments for office premises and entertainment and shopping.
This stretch of road offers an opportunity to shift from the hustle and bustle of the city limits into a more genteel country lifestyle while being only minutes away from modern infrastructure. Older properties on the market also provide opportunities for establishing businesses requiring space.