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The North Coast Commercial Sleeping Giant

It stands to reason that when, some ten years ago, we first heard that the Provincial and National Government had earmarked the North Coast of KZN as the next big growth area for the country it had to have some merit. Firstly, the North Coast was well positioned between two of the busiest ports in Africa namely Durban and Richards Bay and secondly, it was at this stage that the announcement was made that the King Shaka airport was to be completed and be developed as the ‘springboard’ to Southern and Central Africa. Completed before the opening of the World Cup football tournament in 2010, the King Shaka International airport has become a catalyst for the shift in capital flow into the KZN North Coast.

It is now abundantly clear to all that we are seeing this strategy and vision becoming a reality, and it is our belief that we are sitting on the cusp of the next big surge. Change is often slow to start with but once a planned strategy has broken through the initial phase of scepticism, the uptake and growth can become exponential.

So, what are the key drivers? The semigration phenomena, which sees families moving down from the inland regions and the ‘bread winner’ commuting, has now changed to more businesses and business owners moving to the North Coast ‘lock, stock and barrel’.  Lifestyle has also had a huge bearing on the choices that are being made. Proximity to the airport, new schools, hospitals, regional retail centre, multiple recreation options and climate are critical features of the North Coast. As the momentum grows so do other opportunities in terms of supporting the commercial, logistics and retail infrastructure.

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In addition, the North Coast has become a place populated by a multitude of entrepreneurs breathing new and vibrant energy into the area. Many small businesses and home businesses have blossomed and become the norm, all of which has led to complementary business opportunities.

In terms of larger industry there has been a big shift as a result of what has happened and is planned to happen in the next 10 years. In the South, in addition to Umhlanga and surrounds, we have the Cornubia office and industrial development. Flanking the airport on the West is the Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone, the Agrizone and the Cargo and Logistics Hub. The larger planned Aerotropolis will have enormous benefits for the North Coast region and will be well positioned as a global logistics and manufacturing centre for Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world. Already the likes of international organisations such as Samsung, Mahindra and more, are moving to the area. In addition, major logistic companies have begun operations to service the growth and need.

North of King Shaka Airport are a plethora of opportunities from Commercial, Retail and Manufacturing for large and entrepreneurial investors. The rental demand for office and small manufacturing and logistics businesses is growing, thus making it an ideal investors’ market.  The hub on the North Coast has shifted to Ballito and with this being the new centre, the commercial and retail growth is palpable.

Growth is inevitable and opportunities are plentiful and this is reflected in the prediction that there will be a need for 12,000 houses in the next seven to eight years in this North Coast area.

We can be sceptical and see this as a scary crisis, or be bullish and view it as an incredibly exciting opportunity.

Details:Mark Johnson, Seeff North Coast / New Salt Rock Shopping Centre / 082 600 6286

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