Dubai company looks at R20bn North Coast resort

A proposed R20bn resort development near Tugela River Mouth on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast will spur investor interest in this increasingly sought-after stretch of coastline.

So says Ida du Plooy, principal of leading North Coast agency Homenet Ballito, who notes that a development of this magnitude will also have major spinoffs for the local property market stemming from increased demand for goods and services, the need for accommodation for workers and visitors and the development of peripheral infrastructure.

The backer of the development is Dubai-based Ruwaad Holdings, a subsidiary of the listed Dubai 9 group that has real estate, hospitality, tourism investment and development interests and focuses on creating world class destinations.

Ruwaad is currently conducting a viability study of the entertainment theme park and residential complex that has been proposed for the KZN site, which it envisages developing as a self-contained "city" with its own hospitality, leisure, medical, education, sport, health and retail facilities.

The proposed development site is some 16 000ha and it is estimated that the project could create as many as 16 000 new jobs.

"Indeed, it would truly transform that part of the coastline," says Du Plooy. "It would act as a major draw card for tourists, residents and business interests alike and consequently drive up demand for property in the area."

The effect would be similar, she says, to the development of the King Shaka and Dube tradeports near La Mercy. "When construction on the airport began, rentals in the area went through the roof and property values increased proportionately."

And, she says, what better place than KZN for such a project? "The weather is fantastic and KZN is familiar with catering to the tourist industry. We also have the capacity and skills to handle such a project."

She adds that the lush North Coast could in time pull ahead of Cape Town and Durban in terms of tourist appeal and that shrewd investors from around the world are already buying into luxury developments in the area in anticipation of huge growth in values - especially if the Tugela project and others like it go ahead.

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