The once quiet little seaside settlement of Umhlanga is now the nerve centre of business interests in KwaZulu-Natal. The remarkable increase in property sales and returns over the past five years has built investor confidence in the area. And the proof is in the pudding, or in this case the crème de la crème brûlée. The Oceans Umhlanga development hit the market on 3 April and, within four hours, sales reached an unprecedented R 1.55 billion, a new South African record. Scheduled for completion in mid 2018, this will be South Africa’s foremost coastal development. With 90% of the property sold, it’s already a game changer.
The brainchild of Vivian Reddy of Edison Property Group and Ducatus Property’s Rob Alexander, Oceans Umhlanga will consist of a huge 36 000 m2 shopping mall with all the top superbrands, and 444 elegantly designed panoramic view apartments in two towers.
The apartments range from stunning one-bedroom studios to magnificent penthouses. The developer has just released the last remaining exclusive apartments with the announcement that the hotel in the third tower will be managed by the internationally renowned Radisson Blu Hotels. The remaining apartments are set to become some of the most impressive residential offerings the country has seen to date. This is due, not only to the development’s remarkable features and facilities, but also due to what has been noted as steady growth and returns of 35% in the Umhlanga area sectional title markets. Considering the rate at which the first 90% of this development sold, at this stage the best way to ensure our money is on the rise, is through investing in this aerial estate.
Radisson Blu is the fourth-largest hotel group globally. The Radisson Blu Oceans Umhlanga will be a five-star standard 206-key hotel, consisting of nine floors with 135 standard rooms, 54 family rooms, 16 suites and a presidential suite. The state-of-the art conference centre will accommodate 1 200 delegates, with five breakaway rooms and boardrooms. In keeping with the world-class standard that is synonymous with brand Reddy and the Radisson Blu, the hotel will host a glamorous grand ballroom with seating for 700 people. Naturally the hotel will also offer a fully equipped gym, a wellness centre, an array of restaurants and an artisanal coffee roaster.
Travelling to Dubai with Pregan Naicker, the chief executive of Edison Property Group, and a team of architects, Vivian was able to explore the cutting-edge developments for which the Emirates is renowned. And the resulting design is world class – a real first for KwaZulu-Natal. In fact, a first for South Africa.
While the whole concept is unquestionably glitzy and glamorous and oh-so-opulent, its social conscience is rooted in the reality of present-day South Africa. The development will create 2 500 permanent jobs and 15 000 jobs for the duration of the construction.
King Goodwill Zwelithini publicly gave his blessing to the project by turning the first sod on the site, and praised the developers for having the confidence to implement such an ambitious project in a climate that is not overly optimistic. “We often do not realise the greater value of such mega projects for our people and the economy of the entire region,” he said. “It is people like the Reddys and the Alexanders who ensure that we take the lead in development, not just in South Africa but on the African continent.”
It’s like nothing ever seen before in South Africa. It’s “a monster project”, says Vivian. “We are literally converting a village into a metropolis. Umhlanga already has vibe and excitement, and is brimming with entertainment, but with Oceans Umhlanga we bring the big hitters, the super-brands. We have already confirmed Burberry, Versace, Armani, Hugo Boss and Paul Smith, among many others. The presence of these brands places us among the top three exclusive malls in the country, alongside Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and Johannesburg’s Sandton City.”
And the position is perfect. It’s a three minute walk to the beach, the retail development can fulfil almost any need, and the airport is an easy 15-minute drive. The residential development will boast all the expected features, like a 25-metre lap pool, a family leisure pool, 24-hour concierge, a wellness centre, direct access to the mall, and lots of parking. But it will also have a few rather unusual extras like Zen gardens and a yoga enclave – a still point at the centre of what promises to be a whirl of joyful activity.
With any development though, its important to consider the developer to determine the risk. Based purely on former successes, by aligning yourself with brand Reddy, you are sure to be achieving your returns within a lower risk environment. It seems the opportunity is to invest in one of the few remaining apartments while the price is still to your advantage, else you really just spending, when you could be investing.
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