La Lucia, Umhlanga Ridge and Umhlanga form an integral part of KwaZulu-Natal’s Sugar Coast which is a popular holiday or tourist destination. Originally this area consisted of high-end, freehold properties with a few family or luxury hotels. Expansion over the past thirty years has seen many sectional title holiday apartments in addition to housing estates being built. “The area has become a popular commercial property node as Durban expands northwards, causing many businesses to choose Umhlanga’s village atmosphere, in preference to the busy CBD,” says Leon Breytenbach, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s commercial division
Location and access
Umhlanga lies about 16 kilometres from Durban, bounded by Durban North to the south and Mount Edgecombe to the west. “The area is served by King Shaka International Airport, 19 kilometres north of Umhlanga or 33 kilometres from Durban, via the N2 freeway,” explains Breytenbach. Virginia private airport lies about five kilometres south of Umhlanga. The M4 motorway runs along the coast from Durban to Ballito while the R102 extends inland, from Umhlanga to Empangeni where it joins the N2, to continue northwards. The N2 then heads northwest to Pongola, giving access to the hinterland, while the R22 continues north. South of Umhlanga the N2 offers access to Durban as well as the KZN South Coast. Uber, airport shuttles or minibus taxis are a popular source of transport.
Locating King Shaka Airport in this area provided a great boost to the economic growth of the region. “Umhlanga-La Lucia was always a tourism hub of note, but many firms relocating from Durban are causing it to become a vibrant commercial node,” suggests Breytenbach. The area offers beautiful beaches, many entertainment opportunities, world class shopping centres, hotels such as Cabana Beach, Beverley Hills, Oyster Box, Umhlanga Sands to name a few, besides holiday apartments, guest houses or B&Bs.
Thus tourism provided most of the commercial action in the past, but this is rapidly changing. Gateview, La Lucia Ridge as well as The Glades Office Park are modern, attractive properties offering great commercial rental opportunities. There are also some very large developments still in the planning stage. Retail property is plentiful within several shopping centres such as the huge Gateway Centre, La Lucia Mall, Chartwell, Granada Square or Hilcon Centre, providing a wide spectrum of retail outlets catering for all economic groups or tastes. World class restaurants, family eateries or coffee shops are readily available, while gyms, spas, a casino, movie theatres, skate parks, a wave pool, an amusement arcade besides a drive-in theatre, are on offer to entertain residents or holiday makers.
Fact and figures
Umhlanga, Umhlanga Ridge and La Lucia together boast 414 966 square metres of office space, according to the SAPOA Office Vacancy Report of October 2017. Of this, 22 395 square metres are prime grade, 364 896 square metres are A grade while 27 675 square metres are B grade space. However, only 418 square metres of prime, 11 528 square metres of A grade, besides 2 197 square metres of B grade office space are currently available for leasing. “The office vacancy percentage figure has dropped from 7.0% nine months ago to 5.1% at the present time,” says Breytenbach. Average rental costs range from R157 per square metre for prime, R135 for A grade and R110 for B grade space. There is an approved development of 3 500 square metres not yet completed, but this appears to be fully pre-leased.
“Besides wonderful beaches, activities like kite-surfing, snorkelling, hiking or bird watching in the Hawaan forest or on the lagoon trail, are available for the outdoor enthusiast,” advises Breytenbach. The Umhlanga Country Club, established in 1965, remains a popular venue for residents. Netcare Umhlanga or La Lucia Clinic provide hospital care if required, while the area is well supplied with medical practitioners of all genres. There are government as well as private schools in the area such as Victory Christian Academy, Atholton Primary School or Crawford College all in Umhlanga, while the John Wesley Pre-primary School is located in La Lucia.
As the Umhlanga commercial area grows exponentially, it could prove worthwhile to follow the trend by relocating your business to this exceptional area; but with limited vacant commercial property available, you may not want to wait too long.