New facade for Point precinct as developers get more land.

Posted On Friday, 25 April 2003 02:00 Published by
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The Durban Point Development Company has released a 15ha tract of land to the market in a move that should inject about R500m into the local economy and catalyse further development of the long-awaited waterfront.

DURBAN The Durban Point Development Company has released a 15ha tract of land to the market in a move that should inject about R500m into the local economy and catalyse further development of the long-awaited waterfront.

The move follows the start of construction on the R750m uShaka Island marine theme park in the Point area at the harbour mouth.

Last year, the Ethekwini municipality led the way in raising funds to enable this construction as part of its programme to regenerate the area and stimulate economic growth.

The Point precinct comprises 56ha of some of the most valuable undeveloped real estate in southern Africa and its redevelopment has been heralded as the start of a massive urban renewal programme for the inner city.

The marine theme park has already committed to a 10ha site adjacent to the land released for development yesterday. The park is scheduled to open next April.

Other multimillion rand construction projects currently under way in terms of the urban renewal programme include the casino and entertainment facility at the Village Green, the upgrades to the International Convention Centre and the port of Durban and Wilson's Wharf developments on the Esplanade.

Along with these projects, the point creates a "golden triangle" of commercial, residential and tourism facilities for the city with the beachfront as the primary tourism attraction.

Yesterday, Durban Point Development Company project director Neels Brink said the company would invest more than R350m over the next five years on infrastructural development in the precinct. He estimated this would have a R2bn ripple effect on the local construction industry.

Brink said the land that has been released for development formed part of the central spine of the development site and the company would allow the market to dictate the types of appropriate developments. The canal system around which the land has been released, would be the filtration system for the oceanarium in the marine theme park.

Completion was thus due by December when the oceanarium pumps became operational.

He expected the take-up rate of the Durban Point would be 30000m² a year and that the project would be sold out in a little over a decade.

Once completed, Brink expected around half of the land to be committed to residential property and the difference to a mix of light industrial (surfboard manufacturers and repairers and marine service businesses), commercial and retail.

Future developments include a small craft harbour and Brink expected the bulk of residential properties to be built along the seashore and craft harbour. A cruise liner terminal is also in the pipeline in a move that would upgrade the current facilities for Durban.

Brink said the uShaka Island project was the kickstart for the Point initiative and releasing the land for development guaranteed the marine theme park was not undertaken in isolation. It provided the long-term sustainability for regenerating the area.

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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