Umlazi set to earn a new commercial hub: KwaMnyandu

Umlazi, the second largest township in the country, is set to earn a robust commercial hub anchored around the KwaMnyandu railway station which promises to mix well with the King Zwelithini Stadium and the Mangosuthu University of Technology.

The railway station is on a path to get a new  retail development called KwaMnyandu Shopping Centre. The development set on 34000sqm piece of land, leased from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), will be complete around April next year. This is courtesy of established property developer Carlos Correia. Nedbank Corporate Property Finance has now jumped in to support the project through loan funding.

The Kwanyandu Shopping Centre undertaking joins a growing list of retail development that have emerged in previously marginalised areas across the country. Rising incomes within South Africa’s black communities has sparked a rush which has seen developments like  the mega Maponya Mall in Soweto come on stream. While these centres come to plug a critical gap, in the availability of essential infrastructure in black communities, their role can be overblown. There remains question about how to best integrate local economies  into these new developments. The simple  imposition of national traders seen in some of these developments has come to the detriment of local enterprises which is not good for social cohesion.Kwa Mnyandu Shopping Centre - street view

Nedbank announced this week that it is funding the development to the tune of R273 million. The bank tagged its involvement as another example of its commitment to supporting property development that supports local government’s infrastructure initiatives.

Nedbank said the development was well placed in adjoining the KwaMnyandu railway station in Umlazi, the second busiest station in Kwazulu Natal. This unique location will ensure that the new shopping centre enjoys maximum foot traffic as all rail commuters using the station will access it through the centre.

Anand Joseph, Regional Executive for Nedbank Corporate Property Finance in KZN, said the bank supported the opportunity to finance the shopping centre due to the proven track record of the developer and to play its role in enabling sustainable community upliftment through local job creation and infrastructure support.

Correia and his team have been involved in a number of successful retail centres around South Africa. They were initial shareholders of the Vaal Mall in Vanderbijl Park. They also developed the Senaoane Centre, Stretford Centre, Orange Farms Centre, Zamdela Centre, Sharpeville Centre, Kwamashu Shopping Centre, Richmond Shopping Centre, Phuthaditjhaba Shopping Centre in the Free State and various other developments.

Joseph added that Correia’s proven development track record, coupled with the intensive local government development focus on the area and the fact that major national tenants are represented translates into the maximum potential for the KwaMnyandu Shopping Centre to achieve significant success from the outset. Kwamnyandu Shopping Centre will consist of over 23 000 m² of GLA with the two major food anchors being Shoprite and Pick n Pay.

The fashion component will consist of Truworths, Identity, Markhams, Totalsports, Exact, Jet, Edgars Active, Sterns, Foschini, Ackermans, PEP, Mr Price Apparel and many other KZN based fashion companies.

Nedbank said it has provided finance in excess of R1.3 billion to retail developments in KZN, in rural or in previously under-serviced areas.  “Nedbank has long recognised the immense value that can be unlocked through forward-looking commercial partnerships that have the inherent potential to deliver lasting social sustainability. KwaMnyandu Shopping Centre’s position in the heart of a vital growth node identified by the eThekwini administration makes this a development with significant long-term community upliftment opportunities.”

“We are also pleased to announce, in KZN alone, facilities in excess of R1.32 billion have been approved for property-related activity by companies with black ownership, further contributing to the region’s growth and transformation,” said Joseph.

Joseph added that Umlazi has been identified as a top priority development area. “The local government has extensive development plans for the area, which include a proposed mix of commercial and residential developments that should see significant economic growth in the area in the coming decade with over 200 000 bulk square meters approved by the Ethekwini Municipality for the KwaMnyandu Node,” said Joseph.

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