Durban’s Point’s sharpens its development profile

Although only in its third year of a ten year planned rejuvenation and first phase of development The Durban Point Waterfront is being hailed as the “perfect example of an urban regeneration initiative” by developers and marketing agents who cite its transformation from a crime and grime environment to the promising maturity of a world class tourism destination.

Market acceptance of the project has also exceeded residential developers expectations with the complete sell-out of some large developments, appreciation in values show promising solid growth paths, underpinned by a market awareness of its current appreciation levels, and the region’s ultimate limitations of an eventual 2 500 to 3 000 residential units.

Developers this week made clear their eagerness to build on their first phase successes with the release of the second land phase of some 100 000 bulk square metres early next year, dependent on finalisation of the environmental impact assessment.

Stuart Ferguson of Key Projects says the company is “desperately anxious” to start development in the new quadrant on similar lines to their 80-unit already completed The Quays, the Quayside set for completion in March next year and Quaywest.

Both were sold out. Units in The Quays and Quayside sold at prices ranging between R2,6 million and R4 million. Ferguson says the company is now looking at more than one 60 to 80-unit development in the second phase with a list of “ready buyers’.

Colin Sher, sales and marketing manger of Durban Point Waterfront, acknowledged the high degree of market interest in the second phase launch having received daily inquiries from developers. He expects next phase selling prices to come in at “nothing less than R3 000 per bulk square metre.’ This is triple its average R1 000 per bulk sqm when launched in 2003.

More than R1 billion involving 14 projects and an approximate 900 residential units have been committed by developers to the first phase, of which five projects are fully completed.

Horst Keil of Realty One International Property Group and Craig Turner of ApartmentBox were quick to air their satisfaction with the Point’s progress this week.

Keil’s rejuvenation of the old Point Prison into the 32-unit The Point Bastille has recorded 24 sales with excellent local – mainly from the Hillcrest area - and upcountry interest and good sales rhythm with two in the last month. Seven are currently occupied, with the second phase set for completion in the next month.

Also reporting good recent sales with R19 million worth sold in the last month is Apartmentbox who pioneered the first high-rise apartment block, the Spinnaker, at the new Point in 2004. Now 80% sold and currently on the 10th floor of construction, the 28-storey building situated next to uShaka Marine World broke the mould of low-rise developing at the Point. Last year Apartmentbox launched the second high-rise apartment block at the Durban Point Waterfront, the 35-storey San Raphael, due to commence construction shortly.

Both buildings, according to Turner, have shown their investors excellent growth. The Spinnaker launched at around R11,000/sqm is now selling at around the R16,000/sqm mark.

By completion of The Spinnaker in July next year, Turner forecasts average prices in the area to be “around the R20,000/sqm mark. His view is supported by Ferguson, Keil and Sher who forecasts starting prices of around R25 000 per sqm in future beachfront developments facing the small craft harbour.
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