Cape developer launches R226m development in Simbithi

Tourism, the world’s largest industry, has been cited as a major reason in attracting one of the Cape’s leading residential developers to launch a R226 million development in the new residential investment heart of KZN’s north coast.

And Drew Danford, CEO of Bellandia, is confident that tourism, hurried along by the eventual delivery of the decades-long promised new King Shaka Airport on the north coast, will stimulate the same groundswell of international travellers that has elevated Cape Town to one of the most favoured international hotspots for European investors.

Interviewed in the Simbithi eco-estate, just north of Ballito, this week where construction of Bellandia’s 6,34ha sea-facing 94-unit Thompson’s View hugs the still pristine Dolphin coastline, Danford expected tourism to blaze the foreign investment path to the eventual 184-unit project. “It’s a formula that worked in Cape Town for us during the past eight years and one we expect to really ignite foreign property purchasing in KZN.”

His philosophy is based on the positive experiences of tourists maturing into holiday home ownership. But his faith in the region is not just built around the expected inflow of tourists generated by the new King Shaka Airport.

Danford, whose reputation for successfully adding peripheral and environmental value to residential developments, better known to Irish and British investors than locals, is also confident of Thompson’s View becoming part of the urbanisation spread that has already washed through Umhlanga and is now soaking up land around Ballito, and particularly in Simbithi. A large percentage of the 45 to 50 sales thus far in Thompson’s View first 94-unit phase are from would-be commuters to Umhlanga’s burgeoning commercial hub.

A further slice are second-home buyers attracted by Simbithi’s bristling range of leisure features and the eco estate concept, which Danford is eager for first-time presentation to British and Irish investors at the company’s promotional road show in those countries during the next two weeks. Another ace in KZN’s pack, and one he is counting on and acknowledges was a drawback to European’s total endorsement of Cape Town, is that of the game parks.

Animal Planet, the DSTV animal dedicated channel, he points out, has done a marvellous promotional job of honing the uniqueness of the African wildlife experience to new levels of awareness. Traditionally, KZN has always featured as a major wildlife tourist puller, but only as a brief stopover en-route to Cape Town, which Danford, mindful of Durban’s “beaches and bright lights” is hoping to change.

In his bid to waylay Cape Town bound tourists he cites KZN’s weather, all-year round coastal swimming and the lower cost of local property to that of Cape Town. These are two aces he intends to play at his British and Irish presentation seminars.

Pricing, with units starting from R740 000 to R1,9 million, along with design and value for money are also intended to appeal, as this falls within the popular foreign investment range of up to 200 000 pounds sterling.

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