Durban’s Waterfall is finally on the map

Posted On Thursday, 21 February 2013 10:16 Published by eProp@News
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The ‘Outer West’ area of Durban, also known as the Upper Highway, is a swiftly developing residential node, but with some distinct commercial nooks and crannies worth watching. 

Durban’s Outer West retail landscape is about to thrust into another phase of development with the announcement of The Watercrest Mall.  A number of years ago the Hillcrest CBD experienced much upheaval of the local arterial R102 Old Main Road as it was converted into an all dual carriageway. This was to accommodate the expansion in the area which included the rebuilding of Christians Shopping Centre and the bigger Hillcrest Corner.

Now a dual carriage way has been planned, the first fewkilometres already completed, for Inanda Road, the road that runs to the centrally located suburb of Waterfall. What were once sugar cane estates on either side of the 8km road from Hillcrest to Waterfall is now made up of luxuryestates like Cotswold Downs Golf Estate, Kirtlington Equestrian Estate, 101 Acutts and Cotswold Fenns.  Constriction of the dual carriageway up to the new Watercrest mall is expected to be complete within six monthsof the mall’s completion which is October 2014.

Demacon and Fernridge market research companies have supported the development of a 46 000sqm Regional shopping centre in Waterfall. The primary catchment area of the centre is Hillcrest, Kloof, Forest Hills, Assegai, Gillitts Botha’s Hill, Crest view, Crestholm and Waterfall.

The centre is configured on two levels. There are to be two supermarket anchors, Checkers and Spar as opposed to the current single anchor, Superspar. There is a Pick n’ Pay across the road at the smaller Link Hills shopping centre which has taken up many of the old tenants that have had to vacate the old Waterfall shopping centre. Link Hills was completed just a few years ago with much controversy over permissions and occupancy with eThekwini Metro.

Other representations in the new centre include electronics stores, mass discounters, fashion and homeware. A big plus for the area is the announcement of the arrival of Ster-Kinekor cinemas to replace the old Waterfall cinemas that serviced the entire area for many years. An important ingredient to keep the centre alive at night and in creating a community feel – a stated aim of the developers.

Just over 65 percent of the total lettable area is under lease and some of the 120 tenants include Dion Wired, Game, Edgars, Truworths, Ster-Kinekor, Jet and Spar. The mall will have both lifts and escalators as well as 2600 parking bays of which two levels are to be covered parking. All the variety and components of a regional shopping mall are promised. The mall's GLA is estimated at 43 500sqm with the view for a pre-planned further expansion at a later date of 20 000sqm.

The centre seems to be the brainchild of current owners of both the old centre and the Link Hills centre across Inanda road, local family business The Rowles Group, who incidentally live next door to the proposed centre. The group now shares 50% of the old centre with Acucap. Acucap properties is a JSE listed property company with a retail asset base that exceeds R 5 billion. The acquisition was based on the intention of the co-owners to invest R700m in the re-development of the existing property.

Researchers found that upmarket shoppers in the area are travelling to the Pavillion and Gateway centres due to “lack of critical shopping size and fashion mix” in the area. The Watercrest Mall should meet that need as a one stop retail experience. Its variety of shops alone, should help plug the leak of shoppers from the area.

The developers have secured planning rights and overcome many challenges including environmental applications as well as formal access to a suitable bulk sewerage treatment plant. Work on the Centre begins this month.

Last modified on Thursday, 21 February 2013 15:25

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