Durban gearing up for new development projects

Posted On Thursday, 29 August 2002 10:01 Published by
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Investors pouring millions of rand into flagship projects in and around harbour city
Durban is gearing up for massive new development in the city itself and in the northern region of the eThekwini Unicity.

Construction has started at last on the Point waterfront, in which the council is investing R657m. It will include a marine theme park with facilities for swimming with dolphins and having a 'shark experience', a state of the art aquarium and retail and entertainment centres.

Development in Umhlanga, Umdhloti and Ballito is being spurred by the prospect of the long-awaited King Chaka international airport at La Mercy being completed by 2006.

The development plans were outlined by deputy mayor Logie Naidoo in an interview with SA Builder, official journal of the Building Industries' Federation of SA (Bifsa).

In just one of the projects, Sun International is investing R800m in the Zulu-themed Sibaya Casino at Umdhloti. There are also plans for an industrial development zone near the airport.

Ten hectares of council land at Umhlanga have been zoned for retail space and theatres in a bid to meet the demand for entertainment facilities in the area, which is promoting its 'live, work and play' potential.

The Umhlanga Ridge-Gateway area is expected to become Umhlanga's town centre in five years.

The huge Gateway complex, near the Mount Edgecombe residential and golf estate, is being supplemented by the Crescent shopping centre and a Standard Bank development.

The landmark Oyster Box Hotel is to be redeveloped with a residential component, and the Umhlanga Rocks Hotel is being upgraded.

'It is our intention to build a globally competitive region in which all communities benefit from economic growth,' says Naidoo, who is chairman of the council's economic development and planning support committee. 'We are an ambitious city-region and are not content to sit back and let fate take its course.'

He says successful development requires partnerships between the council and business groups.

Four units have been established to drive growth. They are the small business and community development unit, the tourism unit, the private sector and investment unit and the information unit.

The private sector and investment unit is working on a programme to facilitate spatial development initiatives, and has secured major projects through the trade and industry department. Among them is the expansion of Durban Harbour already Africa's busiest port.

Durban's other flagship projects include:

The Village Green casino, due for completion in December;

Phase two of a hotel, retail and entertainment centre, to be opened in December 2003;

The second phase of a yachting marina in the Point precinct, to begin in July 2004; and

A R38m extension to the International Convention Centre, which has won a contract to host the national Tourism Indaba until 2006.

Naidoo said the city envisaged the Village Green casino, the Point waterfront and the convention centre forming an economic 'golden triangle'. The Tsogo Sun consortium, which owns the casino, has committed R70m to a monorail system linking the three attractions.

Regeneration plans will later extend to the southern industrial basin near the Toyota motor manufacturing plant.

Business Day

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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