Maboneng developer collaborates on Durban project

Maboneng developer collaborates on Durban project

Artist’s impression of phase one of Propertuity’s Rivertown neighbourhood development project in Durban.

Following the continuing success of the development of the Maboneng Precinct in downtown Johannesburg, Propertuity recently announced its first development in Durban.

The beginnings of the Rivertown neighbourhood will be launched with a development at 8 Morrison Street, in the area previously known as Motortown.

The beginnings of the Rivertown neighbourhood will be launched with a development at 8 Morrison Street, in the area previously known as Motortown.

Propertuity will be partnering with a host of Durban professionals for the transformation of yet another urban space into a thriving destination. With the support of the eThekweni municipality and together with local architects, artists and change-makers, the beginnings of the Rivertown neighbourhood will be launched with a development at 8 Morrison Street. Phase one of the building’s development activations will be launched on August 3, coinciding with the UIA (International Union of Architects) conference in Durban.

The opportunity for the development company came about when the eThekweni municipality approached Propertuity chief executive, Jonathan Liebmann, to discuss private sector investment and participation in the regeneration of Durban city.

A native of the city, Liebmann found the prospect of having an impact on the upliftment of his home town attractive. Committed to integrating into the existing dynamic fabric in the downtown neighbourhood (previously known as Motortown), Liebmann began to approach a team of like minded urbanists already active in the area. This team will be responsible for providing multiple urban, architectural and cultural platforms that will set the regeneration of the area into motion.

“We want to create a neighbourhood that uplifts the area, while taking into account the fascinating existing essence of Durban. Our intention is not to roll out a model of what has been done so far in Maboneng, but to rather look at this as an entirely new project that stays true to Propertuity’s core values and principles, driven by a new team of Durbanites,” says Liebmann.

“Our commitment to the further development of Maboneng remains unchanged, but the opportunity to develop in Durban has come at a fortuitous time in our company’s life cycle, where we are ready to expand on a national level. We are excited about the prospect of a new neighbourhood project, and the opportunities that developing nationally will provide in creating networks between developing neighbourhoods for the exchange of culture and best urban practices.”

Collaborators on the project include Durban-based designworkshop:sa architects, the architects responsible for Durban’s Warwick Junction and the Constitution Hill urban precinct in Johannesburg, and local marketeers I heart Market.

Marco Santoniccolo, owner of the successful Spiga restaurant in Florida Road, has been appointed operations director for Propertuity Durban.

Andrew Makin of designworkshop:sa says: “We are collaborating with Propertuity to design and deliver a number of mixed residential, hotel, commercial, cultural and retail projects in Rivertown. They will be the first evidence of the transformation of the Durban CBD into an inspiringly diverse and super-liveable environment, and the refocus on the global resurgence of urban life and its unbeatable economic, cultural and social benefits.”

The Rivertown precinct is between the Durban International Convention Centre and the beachfront. The location provides a perfect platform for the style of urban redevelopment and industrial conversion for which Propertuity has already established a name. In addition to a rich existing cultural dynamic, it’s accessibility and scale and character of its historic light industrial and storage building stock and street network is ideal for regeneration into a vibrant mixed-use, mixed economy project. It is next to Durban’s main thoroughfare, Pixley Ka Seme Street (formerly West Street), which is planned for transformation into a pedestrian-dominated linear park and public transport connection through the centre of the CBD.

Makin says the design of the projects will at the same time enable and represent this bold, smart and exciting prospect.

“Ground levels and the network of streets between them will be properly public, with mixed cultural, social and retail activity. Existing sheds and structures that characterise the area will continue to define the street level precinct experience. They will also be the main influence on the conception of new structures which will be simple, powerful, and essential – in form and colour. Taking up the majority of currently underused allowable development bulk, they will extend into the skyline as landmarks of urban regeneration, the Rivertown precinct and the fundamental advantages of integrated city life.”

The pioneering development at 8 Morrison Street will be developed in three phases, the first of which is the launch of a weekly food market as well as an exhibition space for arts and architecture inside the existing 800 m² warehouse. The second phase will include the development of a commercial component with office spaces added on a mezzanine level inside the building. The third component will be the construction of a new tower that will include residential apartments and a hotel. In addition to the redevelopment of this iconic property in Rivertown, Propertuity will be developing two famous art deco buildings in the Durban city centre. The redevelopment of these buildings will create 150 apartments priced from R350 000.

The first phase of the Rivertown development will launch on August 3 with a weekly Sunday market, The Morning Trade, at the 8 Morrison Street development. Anna Savage, owner of Durban’s award winning I heart Market and former professional chef has merged her skills of running markets with her knowledge of food to create the latest market, which will take place weekly from 8am to 2pm.

“The Morning Trade will focus mainly on fresh, high quality artisanal foods – as well as providing a space for Durbanites to buy their groceries, top quality meats, farm fresh ingredients and specialities,” says Savage.

The launch will also include an opening exhibition curated by Angela Shaw of Kwazulu-Natal Society of Arts, showcasing the work of several Durban-based artists. Permanent elements of the exhibition will include mural art and large scale sculptural and lighting installations, and elements such as urban photography, Mahala street print and video installation and surfing and skateboard installations will be on display for the duration of the UIA conference. Some of Durban’s most prolific artists will be exhibiting print work inside the space, and local furniture makers will also be given a platform to showcase their work at the exhibition. Music for the opening event will be provided by the popular Chairman Bar.





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