Creating Retail and Residential Value in Durban’s CBD

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Like most South African cities, Durban is characterised by a diverse mix of people, cultures and lifestyles, particularly in the heart of Durban’s CBD and its immediate surrounds. S Mohanlall Mansions falls squarely within this cultural mix as it overlooks the busy intersection of King Dinuzulu and Umbilo roads, just east of the city centre.

With a high demand for residential and retail space in this area, the owners of S Mohanlall Mansions sought financing for the renovation of this building. Due to the scale of the project, self-funding was not an option and unfortunately, traditional financiers perceived the area as high risk. Fortunately, the owners got in touch with a key role-player in the area and a valuable partnership was created.

To date, the owners have increased the building’s ground-floor offering from two to eight shops. The spaces were kept relatively small to keep the rentals affordable, under R4,000 per month, providing opportunities for community businesses to succeed. The expansion has added a butchery, tailor, driving school, dental practice, small restaurant, mini supermarket, hair salon and second-hand furniture store to the busy corner.

The residential portion of the property is currently under construction, with a planned expansion from five storeys containing 15 units to six storeys holding 50 units. The residential apartments are self-contained bachelor units ranging in size from 12m2 to 30m².

The tenant demographic is mostly made up of working individuals with a small percentage of students occupying the rest of the spaces, owing to the property’s proximity to both the Durban University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus. The owners of the property have worked hard to provide top-quality living spaces and high-standard finishes, which include porcelain tiles, granite tops, aluminium window frames and galvanised railings.

Although crime was a concern initially, it has been well managed through the installation of better lighting around the property, as well as the implementation of increased security measures. The construction project is expected to employ 26 people, which include builders and skilled construction labourers, such as plasterers, carpenters and painters.

Upon completion of the project, S Mohanlall Mansions will stand proudly as a provider of quality accommodation and retail space to a significant number of local community members.

Resources: TUHF

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