WORK on the first phase of the 20-year Ntshongweni Urban Development north of Durban is expected to start early next year. The 2 000-hectare project, which will take two decades to construct, is 30 kilometres west of the Port of Durban on the N3, and new the precinct will service the city’s largely under-serviced outer-west subregion. The site has KwaNdengezi and Dassenhoek to the south, Summerveld to the west, and Assagay and Hillcrest to the north, a statement from primary land owner Tongaat Hulett said last week. The first phase involves a “Retail and Urban Core”, which will anchor the development. This will be followed by other developments, including residential, logistics, recreational, warehousing and leisure components. “All development rights for the Retail and Urban Core are in place and we officially have the go-ahead to break ground in the first quarter of 2019,” Tongaat Hulett MD Michael Deighton said in a statement.About 1 000 hectares of open space is being allocated for passive and active recreational use, including the horse riding, trail running and mountain bike riding that is already popular in the area, said Deighton. Over 20 years, some 400 000 temporary construction jobs are expected to be created, 35 000 permanent jobs, and some R5.1 billion in annual tax revenue. “The new urban core will offer residents shopping and leisure opportunities currently only available through expensive and time-consuming travel,” said Deighton.