Business

KZN’s newest oasis, on the mid-south coast

The Renishaw Coastal Precinct property development project by Renishaw Property Developments (RPD) promises to usher in an economic awakening and environmental rehabilitation for the community of Scottburgh, located on KwaZulu-Natal’s mid-south coast.

The 1 300 hectare mixed-use development lies 40 minutes outside of Durban and has the backing of JSE-listed food producer Crookes Brothers, which owns a majority stake in RPD.

It will be divided into five interconnected nodes, each hosting a residential, retail, educational, healthcare and light industrial commercial zone.

According to RPD, the development has secured approval for the subdivision of land as well as the environmental authorisation to continue with the development. Nodes 1 to 3 – which consist mainly of residential and commercial zones – have already received approval in terms of the Umdoni Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (Spluma).

The development is estimated to have a total economic impact of between R7.5 billion and R10 billion. 

“The mid-south coast has never before seen development of this scale and nature,” says Crookes Brothers CEO Kennett Sinclair.

He describes the precinct as a complete mixed-use development that “will drive economic growth in the local economy” and create job opportunities for existing and future residents.

“It will contribute to industry diversification, business retention and expansion, and generate rates and taxes that could be ploughed back into the upgrading of the local infrastructure.

“All of this will result in an improvement of the quality of life for the people of Scottburgh and the surrounding areas.”

Read: Construction on KZN’s new mini city Westown to finally begin

Environmental focus

The project will place huge emphasis on environmental rehabilitation and conservation, with 1 000ha of the area dedicated to this effort.

The project seeks to reintroduce an indigenous coastal forest and grasslands to some areas, while preserving existing wetlands, estuaries, coastal grasslands, rivers and river valleys.

RPD says it has partnered with the Department of Environmental Affairs, which will provide partial funding to assist with the initial phase of removing alien vegetation from designated areas.

“By rehabilitation we don’t just mean the eradication of alien plants and the replacement of the cane fields with grasslands and indigenous forests, but also the reintroduction of animal life, such as the critically endangered Pickersgill’s reed frog that is endemic to only 20 small wetlands along the KZN coast … if current conditions persist, more than 50% of its habitat will be considered to be non-viable in the future,” says Renishaw Coastal Precinct MD Barto van der Merwe.

Economic push

The development promises an economic awakening for the area, bringing in jobs at different stages of the project.

RPD tells Moneyweb the construction phase is where the first tranche of seasonal jobs will come from. Afterwards, the influx of business in the area will make a significant contribution to upping local employment. 

RPD says while it is difficult to estimate the total potential job opportunities, as much will depend on the end-user and the type and size of business developed on each site, it believes the number will be “significant”.

The past two years have dealt crippling blows to KZN’s economy. Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, which hurt global economies, the province has also had to recover from the aftershocks of the 2021 July unrest as well as the April 2022 floods – which not only took hundreds of lives but also dealt massive economic blows to local businesses. 

According to Renishaw, the development is designed to have several retail and mixed-use zones across its various nodes, including a 5.8ha mixed-use site with a filling station beside it.

The precinct will also host a 10 000 to 15 000m2 shopping centre, which RPD will be selling to an experienced retail developer to develop.

Although there is no firm indication of who the shopping centre anchors will be at this point, RPD confirms that it has been in conversation with major food retailers.

Typically, depending on the size and location of a shopping centre, there can be up to two major food retailers anchored at opposite sides, with the more likely players in this case being Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Shoprite-owned Checkers. 

To service the new community, the development will have a private hospital and private school in the third node, which will also house the precinct’s independent water supply.

“We will draw water from boreholes and treat the water in line with SANS [South African National Standard], in a state-of-the-art treatment works on our estate. We also have our own sanitation plant that treats all wastewater responsibly and in accordance with the applicable SANS,” RPD tells Moneyweb.

Expectations are that the development will assist in boosting the region’s property market, which is still recovering from the aftershocks of the pandemic. 

“Currently, our land prices are substantially less than those of the KZN North Coast and increasing interest has led to significant investments already being made in the area by Renishaw Property Developments,” Van Der Merwe adds.

“Over the last four years we have seen house prices in the estate escalate by 50%, this through the Covid period – a remarkable achievement that bodes really well for the remainder of the precinct and puts us in an enviable position to offer prospective partners looking to get an early ‘foot in the door’, prime coastal locations at competitive prices that we anticipate will only continue to increase.”

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