Tongaat Hulett’s 12-hectare, 85,000 m2 Cornubia Business Hub, which was launched in late August, has sold out. The sale, which was concluded during September, sold five subdivisions to two purchasers, with 68 000m2 going to a local black-owned company.
Michael Deighton, Tongaat Hulett’s property executive said that this was the company’s first major empowerment deal in a key area in Umhlanga. “We are confident that it is the first of many such empowerment deals,” he said, emphasizing that there were several opportunities in the future roll-out of Cornubia to further reinforce the organisation’s intention to make space for black developers in this key growth and investment corridor north of eThekwini.
“We believe that this represents up to a R3 billion investment opportunity for these entities who could construct suitable facilities for a range of end users,” Deighton explained.
Speaking on behalf of the BEE consortium, the principal shareholder, Paulos Ngcobo, commented, “We look forward to partnering with Tongaat Hulett to maximise the potential of this prime location. As a catalyst for economic development, Cornubia has the potential to create employment and improve the lives of thousands of people.”
The bulk earthworks contract for the site has already commenced and is expected to be completed in mid-2015. Construction of internal services such as roads, telecommunications, water, sewerage and electricity will follow. Construction of top structures could commence as early as next year with trading likely to begin in 2017. Deighton believes that the value of the investment will be fully unlocked by 2017/8 after the opening of the Cornubia Shopping Centre, which is already under construction by Investec, and the completion of major infrastructure upgrades that include the Flanders Drive interchange on the M41.
The site forms part of the greater Cornubia development, a multi-billion rand collaboration between the eThekwini Municipality and Tongaat Hulett. The first of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal, Cornubia is a fully integrated human settlement. When the residential element of Cornubia is complete, there will be 24 000 homes, accommodating close to 100 000 people, many of whom will work, shop and seek entertainment in the precinct.
In conclusion, Deighton confirmed that, “Tongaat Hulett will work with the empowerment partners to maximise the value of the development. Through the purchase of this property, the new BBBEE entity is expected to evolve into a major player within the commercial property market to the north of the city.”