Now is the time for great investment opportunities in Durban in spite of a challenging economy says commercial head for Tongaat Hulett Property Chris du Toit. “With recent acquisitions by national players, we have seen the start of a new season that will continue,” he says. The company plans to attract big property players to the east coast.
Du Toit remains upbeat about prospects, notwithstanding the difficulties SA is facing. “We have been through one of the toughest economic years this country has faced in a long time. With GDP growth sitting where it is, a difficult operating environment exists for all businesses!’
How does Tongaat Hulett Property plan to attract national and international property investors? “The sheer scale and nature of upcoming projects lend themselves to international and national operators in the market,” says Du Toit. Tongaat Hulett will adopt a phased approach that is “good for big developers who look for serious scale”.
Says Du Toit: “What we want to see over the next 24-36 months – when the economic climate stabilises and foreign investment returns – is a pickup in the pace of development and investment. I think that things will improve. The rest of the world is growing at 3% to 4%, so we should be up there as well.”
What is the company’s strategy? “In the past, we have embarked on high-end residential, commercial or industrial developments.
With a longer-term portfolio approach, the focus will now be more on mixed-use developments with a number of large projects coming up,” says Du Toit.
Tongaat Hulett Property MD Michael Deighton says the spotlight will be on development of Durban as an inclusive city.
“It is less of a reactive approach and one that is more geared towards cities or spaces that are integrated, inclusionary and compact, which ultimately results in a more liveable city” What developments are planned for the Durban area and when they will be rolled out? Du Toit says existing projects such as Cornubia – a landmark investment because of its location, access and infrastructure — and Sibaya Coastal Precinct are good foundations. Investors can expect further advancement in the areas west and north of Durban in the coastal and inland regions, as well as the airport region.
“We are working on one or two large investment transactions which will unlock the development rollout in both these areas going into 2019,” says Du Toit.