Umhlanga’s last land

Private Property South Africa
Anne Schauffer

The first residential property development at Umhlanga’s prestigious Ridgeside precinct has been unveiled.

As the last available land in Umhlanga – a key development node and, essentially, Durban’s northern commercial hub – Ridgeside has pole position for accessibility, sea views and even a forest conservancy. It doesn’t get much better than that, so the announcement of the first residential development – the only gated estate with controlled access through a security gatehouse – is raising adrenaline levels.

From almost every perspective, Ridgeside residents will be at the heart of the brave new world: right on the urban edge, close to work, play, retail and recreation. To top it all, sensational 180° Indian Ocean views and easy beach access, clinch the deal.

A R50bn precinct, the four distinct areas of Ridgeside will offer lifestyle as much as accommodation. Landscaped parks, tree-lined boulevards, piazzas and a network of cycling and walking trails will weave among the natural vegetation. Planning of the Ridgeside precinct is closely aligned to a comprehensive environmental management programme, which includes a buffer zone to protect the remaining coastal forest. The southern and western aspects already include a number of corporate offices, including the FNB and other high-end office blocks.

Architect Cameron Finnie of designated architects, Dean Jay Architects, says of the project, “The site is broken up into two portions with a total of 180 residential units: from studio apartments to penthouses. It’s topographically difficult with its steep slopes, but both portions have brilliant sea views and overlook an undevelopable green belt. The two sites have vastly differing height restrictions, meaning a 15m height difference, but we used this to our advantage by placing units on the back site that overlook the building in front, creating undisrupted views.

“Marrying the client’s brief with the natural restrictions and the scheme essentially revealed itself. Each unit will be special in its own right. The larger units are higher up for a better view, while the smaller ones are placed towards the ground where some have garden access. Architecturally speaking, the building’s forms respond directly to the natural characteristics of the site. The materials used earth the building and enhance the experience of tactility and honesty in the architecture. All units have full-height glazing leading out onto an outside space where exposed brickwork party walls frame the view.”

Luxurious urban living, but softened with a lush green belt and glorious views. The Hackprop Group – the Hackners property family – took the opportunity to establish this development as its first footprint in KwaZulu-Natal, and it’s fully confident of its success.

Take a look at the Umhlanga neighbourhood here:

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

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Explore neighbourhoods mentioned in this article

Upmarket Convenience
Upmarket Umhlanga has become the neighbourhood of choice for many who have moved North from more central areas. In Umhlanga you have the beach on your doorstep, along with malls and shopping centres just minutes away. With its top schools, great hospitals, business parks, gated estates, beachfront apartments and coffee shops, Umhlanga is convenience personified. Umhlanga offers a lifestyle for everyone, be it the happily retired, the on-the-go business person or the young and trendy student.