Area Review: Point Waterfront

Private Property South Africa
Angelique Arde

In his latest show Fully Committied, stand-up comic Alan Committie (also known as The One Man Committee of Comedy) aptly kicks off with a PowerPoint presentation outlining for the audience in business-like fashion what the show will cover. His presentation comes with the works: graphs, illustrations, a video clip and time allocations. He even uses a laser pointer. Very corporate. Very slick. Very OTT. When he’s done running through the programme, he thrusts a pointed finger our way with all the passion and gusto of Tom Cruise playing Jerry Maguire and makes his very own “Power Point”. Geddit? Power Point. The finger? The point? It’s hilarious! (Go see the show!) But his point is that some people can’t make a point unless they have PowerPoint. He has a point. We all know the type. They say plenty but tell you nothing. Longwinded. Verbose. They repeat themselves. Often. And so this brings me to my ... er ... point: that being The Point. The one and only (drum roll) Durban Point Waterfront. If you aren’t a Durbanite you may be feeling slightly underwhelmed right now, because you might not know that the Point is not the dodgy skollie haven it used to be. But if that’s the case you’ve probably been living under a rock somewhere, because the Point Waterfront is hot property – and has been for the past five years, at least. In the bad old days, there were only three reasons you’d ever go down to the Point. Either you were looking for: a jol at 330 nightclub; zol or some class-A drugs, which you could score from just about anybody; or the Vic Bar, which served the best Portuguese fare in Durbs. It really was excellent nosh, but taking your life into your hands for piri-piri prawns never seemed worth it to me. Point Waterfront Houses, picture courtesy Brian SpurrToday the Point is a vastly different place. Now you have 101 great reasons to go there – and none of them involve anything illicit or life-threatening, which is quite comforting. The area has had an extreme makeover and is a far cry from what it used to be. It all began with the development of the R750 million uShaka Marine World in 2003 and the eThekwini city has since pumped close on R1bn into general infrastructure in the area. The Point Waterfront – officially the Durban Point Development Area – includes the uShaka Marine World and extends from Bell Street to the harbour entrance and from the beachfront to Point Road (renamed Mahatma Gandhi Road). The site is 55ha compared to the V&A’s 88ha. uShaka takes up 10ha and the remaining 45ha is being developed as a series of precincts collectively known as Durban Point. One person who believes passionately in the Point is commercial and industry estate agent and businessman Herman Chalupsky. He of little words is a powerful Point man (not to be confused with PowerPoint man). Chalupsky – yes, the world champion surf-ski paddler – has been in the property business for the past 20 years and is a big player in the Point Waterfront property market. Soon after he began working in the area, he bought his first residential property there. He now owns two apartments in the Point, one of which is his home. He lets the other unit – a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that he picked up for R1,6m – for about R900 a day. “The Point is home to Africa’s biggest harbour. The major port companies are moving in and with that the demand for housing is growing.” Chalupsky says that while he has enjoyed excellent returns on the commercial side, the residential market has been slow to start. But he’s convinced the Point has all the right ingredients to be a huge success. “It’s just a matter of time,” he says. Loving the water as he does, Chalupsky chose to live at the Point Waterfront for obvious reasons. “Of course, I love that I can go for a paddle any time of the day and be a stone throw from home. But the atmosphere and vibe here is fantastic. There is a way of life here that’s streaks ahead of anything else on offer in KZN. It’s really a great place to live, work and play.” He says he’s excited about the new signature hotel and the top-notch restaurant that are being developed. Yet more reasons to invest. “Great things are on the cards here,” he says. Marc Maurel is another Point man. Marc spent the first 21 years of his life in Durbs. After almost nine years in Gauteng, he’s back with wife Nicole and three little daughters in tow. “We’ve been back nine months and it has been the best move we could’ve made.” The Maurels live on the Berea but are in the process of moving to the Point, where they will be renting an apartment in the luxurious Spinnaker. The block boasts unrivalled panoramic views of the port and the Indian Ocean coastline. It also adjoins the Ushaka Marine World, famous for its world-class aquarium, dolphinarium and Waterworld Theme Park, and isn’t far from Durban’s promenade. “Our girls are going to be in their element – so close to uShaka – and we’ll be in walking distance of a variety of great restaurants. I love the fact that we’ll be able to get around on foot!” Maurel, who is the business development manager for Stedone Projects, is also a keen surfer and wanted to be closer to the ocean. You don’t get closer than the Point. Another big draw card for the Maurels is safety. “The Point Waterfront is one of the safest areas to live. The streets have been cleaned up and there’s a great security presence on every street. We’ve got surveillance cameras on our road and a security post at the entrance and exit to our new block.” Apartments at The Spinnaker sell for between R2m and R2,5m. They fetch rentals of anything from R8k and R30k a month, depending on the apartment size and whether the unit is furnished. Maurel reckons the writing’s on the wall and savvy investors are getting in there. Given that 97 percent of market stock at the Point is sectional title, this hassle-free, lock-up-and-go lifestyle is always attractive with investors and home owners alike. According to Lightstone, this year so far 15 sectional title properties in the Point have changed hands and the average selling price was R276 000. That’s probably owing to properties in South Beach – and they might well be being snapped up by some shrewd Point property person. Get my point? Picture of houses on the Point Waterfront courtesy of Brian Spurr

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