While the commercial property market remains relatively muted, prime locations in KwaZulu-Natal such as Durban’s Morningside and areas to the north of Durban continue to experience solid demand and activity, says Chantal Williams, leasing and sales broker for JHI Properties in KwaZulu-Natal.
Commenting on the office market she says uMhlanga’s burgeoning Ridgeside area goes from strength to strength as more commercial buildings come on stream. “Despite the challenging economic climate prime located commercial property remains a lucrative asset. Movement in the market is limited as landlords generally tend to hold onto their investments, preferring to sign up tenants for sound rental income,” says Williams, who recently concluded lease transactions in Ridgeside Office Park on behalf of leading global bank, Citibank, as well as Spring Light Gas, which has rented an entire building of 1164sqm.”
Spring Light Gas is an award-winning supplier of piped gas to the industrial and commercial industry in KwaZulu-Natal. The company has elected to occupy a standalone building well-positioned in Ridgeside Office Park. Says Williams: “Currently other brand new office accommodation is available to rent in Ridgeside, with various sizes at rates ranging from R125 up to R165 per square metre for A-Grade Green Star buildings. This includes large office space to rent from 3500 to 8000sqm in size.”
Another company, Sabido Properties, has acquired a site of 1353sqm in Ridgeside where they are constructing an office building which will comprise 1030sqm to accommodate their rapidly expanding business. “They wanted their own custom-designed premises and signature branding – a strong motivation for many owner-occupiers. Good visibility and branding opportunities coupled with secure, well-maintained premises are important factors for tenants, as well as sufficient parking,” she adds. “These were also key motivators for MPC Recruitment, who have rented office space in Armstrong Avenue on La Lucia Ridge.”
She says generally the uMhlanga node retains high appeal for office users due to the major developments taking shape, its modern infrastructure, good security and appealing ambience – with attractive landscaping and easy access to highways in and around the city of Durban.
Also in the north of Durban, JHI Properties recently placed ‘I Can!’ in 636sqm of commercial rental space in the Redhill area. This is a relatively large size for a standalone building, ideally positioned close to public transport for easy access. The location and premises are well suited to this organisation which offers learnerships to people with disabilities as the building is easily accessible and offers eight training venues. The Durban North area is also popular for smaller office space and any small companies or businesses wanting to move from a work-from-home environment into a corporate space.
Says Williams: “Closer to Durban, the office market in the Morningside area remains stable, with standalone homes rezoned for commercial use constantly in demand for business use and therefore in short supply. There will always be demand in this area due to its limited rental stock, convenient location, good exposure and public transport facilities – which is always a priority for companies sensitive to staffing requirements.”
She adds that in the retail market the State Bank of India – India’s largest bank and ranked 60th on the world’s largest bank list – will soon occupy retail premises in the newly renovated Overport City in the Overport area, which borders Morningside and incorporates a busy commercial node. Due to improved visibility and exposure in the centre the bank anticipates increased client foot falls. “Also in regard to retail space The Get Fit Gym has leased premises of 148sqm in Marriott Road, Morningside,” she says.