New N3 business park

2012-04-18 00:00

A NEW business park to be located near the Howick/Tweedie off-ramp along the N3 will take shape following approval by various authorities, bringing much-needed industrial development in the local economy.

Gerald Mundell, the owner and developer of the site, told The Witness that Stockowners Business Park would offer 72 light industrial sites, and a node for offices and a shopping centre.

Mundell, who is assessing and confirming the uptake of the industrial park, said several companies had expressed an interest in setting up factories in the light industrial park.

“We’ve already sold 11 sites, which includes an existing office park,” said Mundell.

The developers hope to transfer sites to businesses in about 18 months.

The park could result in an investment of about R350 million once the first phase is completed, with about 1 000 permanent and temporary job opportunities being created.

Mundell said the developers would also assess the viability of building a 10 000 square metre shopping centre.

Midlands-based developer DKKS Properties has bought the office site and plans to build an office park comprising 4 000 square metres of new offices and some existing offices.

Mills Fitchet, another locally based property valuation company, has bought the remaining offices for its own use.

Economist Clive Coetzee said the development was a positive move for the local economy. He said the concept of industrial parks was attractive for businesses.

“It is based on a cluster system, with purpose-built infrastructure to support industry. It may take a while for it to build and fill up, but eventually they do fill up and become significant manufacturing hubs,” said Coetzee.

He said manufacturers would welcome any site that enabled them to minimise their transport costs.

“The reason for manufacturers setting up along the N3 corridor is also that they need to be in close proximity to the main transport route and the ports,” explained Coetzee.

Kwanele Gumbi, an economist based in KwaZulu-Natal, told The Witness that it was inevitable that sites along the route from Durban to Mooi River would be developed in time. He described the development as a bold move in the current economic climate.

“There will be great rewards if the development is well subscribed, but there are also great risks.

“A lot of businesses are struggling to survive. However, we cannot predict the future. It is through such entrepreneurial efforts that we are able to see things that we will not see today, but into the future,” said Gumbi.

However, he added that a more co-ordinated approach to development was needed, possibly through a forum involving local, provincial and national government, as well as other key role-players.

Mundell bought the site, which previously housed a livestock auctioneer and agricultural finance house, more than six years ago.

He said the developers would begin by constructing the entrance and road infrastructure within the business park.

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