KwaZulu-Natal's Bridge City Development takes off

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An aerial view of Bridge City highlighting the Bridge City shopping centre along with the Bridge City Boulevard. This centre provides for 68 000 square metres of retail space. An aerial view of Bridge City highlighting the Bridge City shopping centre along with the Bridge City Boulevard. This centre provides for 68 000 square metres of retail space.

The entire 60 hectare Bridge City development in KwaZulu- Natal, which includes the mixed use commercial and residential Town Centre as well as the Business Estate, is expected to attract public and private investment totaling over R10 billion.

Negotiations for the first property sales within the recently released 17 hectare Bridge City Business Estate – a prime location just 17 kilometres from the Durban port and 23 kilometres from the King Shaka International Airport – are well underway.

Cyril Gwala, Tongaat Hulett’s Development Director responsible for Bridge City, the RiverHorse Valley Business Estate and Cornubia, is confident that that the entire Bridge City Town Centre and Business Estate will be a reality within the next five years. He says the Bridge City Business Estate which is predicated on a mixed use model similar to that of the highly successful RiverHorse Valley Business Estate, is a greenfields development that is expected to transform the surrounding communities of Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK).

Massive strides have already been made in the Town Centre and services have been being installed. Construction began with the vibrant Bridge City shopping centre in 2008. This provides for 68 000 square metres of retail space and is tenanted by some of the biggest names in South African retail including Spar, Woolworths, the Edcon Group as well as restaurants such as Spur and Chicken Licken.

The Bridge City shopping centre is one of the anchors of the 43 hectare Bridge City Town Centre together with the iconic regional Magistrate’s Court which opened in May 2013. Additional key developments within the new Town Centre are expected to include a R1,2 billion, 450 bed public regional hospital for which the piling and services have already been completed. The hospital has experienced unavoidable delays but it is expected that construction will begin within the next two years.

The site between the regional Magistrate’s Court and the hospital has been secured by Ithala Bank for a mixed use development. Sites positioned opposite this are expected to attract a great deal of rental interest for professional practices, legal chambers and medical facilities which indicates sound investment opportunities for developers.  

Existing subdivided and saleable sites are available for mixed use (retail, offices and residential development) directly across from the Bridge City shopping centre and along the Bridge City Boulevard which crosses the Town Centre and Business Estate and provides opportunities for retail fronting onto the main thoroughfares.

In addition to the provision of residential accommodation above the shopping centre itself, central key sites have been set aside for multi-storey residential developments directly opposite the Bridge City shopping centre. High rise developments of between six and eight storeys that will have good city views will provide significant residential bulk as will proposed four to six storey “walk-up” units. These are expected to accommodate professionals employed by the medical and legal businesses as well as other commercial and industrial operations.

The 17 hectare Business Estate is expected to attract a wide variety of investors and is ideal for distribution centres and logistics companies, building materials retailers, fast moving consumer goods wholesalers and retailers as well as light industrial operations. The size of sites - which are priced at R1 400 per sq/mof platform area - depend on the topography and the needs of individual investors. The Town Centre sites are priced at R950 per sq/m of retail bulk (subject to a minimum of 1.5FAR) and R300 per sq/m of residential bulk. These prices are currently being reviewed.

A four hectare site in the Business Estate has been sold to the city for its new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) depot and there are a number of other active enquiries.

Gwala believes that both the location along the rapidly developing northern coastal corridor and access to the new rail station and line and to the “BRT” bus public transport will be key to attracting investors to Bridge City. The city’s new BRT bus system will have Bridge City as a major destination.
Transport facilities include a new railway station and line, and bus and taxi ranks. It is anticipated that, once Bridge City is fully developed, the rail station will accommodate approximately 100 000 commuters every day, making it the second busiest station in KwaZulu-Natal.

Security is a priority throughout Bridge City. In addition to 24-hour rapid armed response, the entire precinct will be monitored via CCTV with a monitoring station located at the Bridge City shopping centre. The Bridge City Management Association will be responsible for this.

Gwala says both Bridge City and the RiverHorse Valley Business Estate are testament to the power of public, private sector partnerships (PPP’s) to deliver on industrial development. The Bridge City development is a joint venture between the eThekwini Municipality and Tongaat Hulett. Tongaat Hulett is also the project manager responsible for implementation of the project onto the ground as well as the mandated sales agent for Bridge City.


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