Regarded as the development jewel of KwaZulu-Natal, Cornubia is a mixed-use phased development project that is strategically located between Phoenix/Ottawa and Umhlanga, bordered by the N2 freeway, M41 arterial and the Ohlanga River.  The development comprises a total of 1 200ha, of which 450h is unusable land and 750ha is developable land consisting of 25 000 residential units (15 000 are low income), 70ha of industrial platforms, 50ha of mixed-use developments and 1 200 000mof commercial bulk including offices, retail and so forth.  The Cornubia project will be developed over several phases spanning about 20 years.

Cornubia is a bold undertaking by Tongaat Hulett and the eThekwini Municipality.  It sets out the commitment to national ideas, and defines and creates benchmarks for similar initiatives.  The project aims to apply, leverage, assemble and systematically align multiple institutional, financial, human and managerial resources in a creative and innovative manner, covering aspects such as informal settlement, eradication, inter and intra settlement integration, urban restructuring and renewal, densification, tenure diversification, improved settlement design, better quality shelter, poverty eradication and greater responsiveness to livelihood strategies.

How is Cornubia Coming Along?
Tongaat Hulett Developments launched the first developable phase, known as the Cornubia Industrial and Business Estate (CIBE), in March 2012 and received an exceptionally good response from the market.  The first phase of the public sector housing is progressing well, with approximately 482 units having been completed and occupied.  There’s also Cornubia Retail Park, a high-quality retail precinct situated on an earmarked 34ha, which intends to compliment the mixed-use nature of Cornubia.

The first phase of this precinct will see a development of 80 000mGLA of a value destination shopping centre; it is anticipated that construction on this centre will commence in July 2014.  Cornubia phase two, which is currently undergoing the EIA approval processes, consists of 63ha of industrial land,
+-600 000mof commercial bulk, 12 000 subsidised units (to be developed by public sector), and 10 000 affordable housing units.

Who is Cornubia Targeting?
The development is aimed at both private and public sector parties including:

  • Institutional investors, local and international, looking to diversify their portfolios.
  • Retailers and corporates seeking a footprint in the growing Durban urban market.
  • Diverse users for the different land uses, ranging from commercial and retail to industrial and residential, in a work, play, live urban environment.
  • Private equity funds and investors seeking opportunities in prime property.

How Will Cornubia Transform the Surrounding Area?
Cornubia is widely regarded as a potential key project in the quest for the integrated human settlement goal.  A key objective therefore is the need to accommodate housing.  The Spatial Development Framework depicts the thrust of the IDP indicating the City’s intentions and development management approach.  To this end, Cornubia is considered a major investment node because it has the potential to deliver on a range of current metropolitan development objectives, such as district integration, pursuing integrated human settlements and building a dynamic region.  To fulfill the objective of a fully integrated human settlement, a range of housing typologies has been planned.  These include subsidized housing as well as affordable housing for those who earn between R3 5000 and R15 000.

Why are Mixed-Use Developments so Important Today?
The scarcity of resources almost enjoins us to re-look at the way we develop.  Mixed-use developments not only shorten the length of time required to provide physical infrastructure but also contribute in the quest of preserving the world – which, as we are told is increasingly challenged by our actions.

What has Been the Biggest Challenge thus far in the Development of Cornubia?
The huge infrastructure requirement is the single most daunting challenge in unlocking the potential of Cornubia.

How will the Environment be taken care of During the Development of Cornubia?
As has already been indicated earlier on, Cornubia is being developed in phases; thus EIA’s for different precincts are being undertaken and approvals for some have been obtained already.  In the Cornubia framework plan, +-450ha is considered to be undevelopable land which will be zoned open space such as wetlands/buffers, floodplains and steep slopes.  This presents an opportunity to establish green linkages or corridors with the existing open space systems that are rather fragmented (apart from the Ohlanga River, which provides the major east – west corridor).

What are the Benefits of Cornubia?
More than 100 000 new sustainable jobs will be created, with more than 96 000 short-term construction jobs.  The community will benefit from the development of market-related housing, comprising predominantly gap, middle and limited high income residential development.  The proposed development will also have a major impact on the rates base of the city over time, bringing in millions in rates revenue per annum for the eThekwini Municipality.

Is Cornubia the Future of Development?
Tongaat Hulett is of the opinion that Cornubia sets the benchmark for future developments.  Cornubia is the first of its kind, with a vision to establish an integrated and sustainable settlement within the parameters of the National Department of Human Settlements’ Breaking New Ground initiative (BNG).

BNG’s strategic focus includes ensuring the delivery of affordable housing in sustainable and habitable settlements.  Its strategic priorities are to accelerate housing delivery, improve the quality of housing products and environments to ensure asset creation and restructure and integrate human settlements.