ambient temperature warehouse is one of the first developments to begin to take shape at Cornubia and represents the logical progression of leading property developer / investor, JT Ross’ strategy to extend its interests in this area.
Development Director, Grant Smith, said that extending its interests in the warehousing and distribution segment of the Kwazulu-Natal industrial property market was a natural progression from its highly successful operations in Gauteng. On the East Rand, in particular, he said the company had “taken a position” in the Plumbago Business Park and Plumbago Logistics Park which was currently under development This has become a location of choice for both local and international logistics companies.
“We are finding that more and more businesses are mindful of the need to have high spec, modern warehouses,” he points out, adding that many companies are suddenly realizing that they are still using aged centres developed during the sixties and seventies.
Smith says there is a natural flow and “cross pollination” between their Johannesburg and Durban projects not only in terms of expertise but also of clients. He said that many large operators liked to deal with the same investor when setting up distribution centres in both Durban and Johannesburg alike.
As a result, JT Ross has taken a bold position in , purchasing 16 hectares of prime at Cornubia. The Digistics warehouse – as well as two others which are under negotiation – will be sited there.
Smith says that Cornubia, which is close to the proposed aerotropolis at the King Shaka International Airport, will follow in the footsteps of its highly successful predecessor, Riverhorse Valley Business Estate, which has evolved into a key industrial and logistics centre. “It’s the next stepping stone for an industrial township of significant size for Durban,” he said.
JT Ross has already completed a number of warehousing projects in and around the Riverhorse node, including facilities for Barloworld, Unitrans and Vodacom. In addition, it has completed facilities for Araf Industries, Aggreko, Worldnet, SDV, Avis, Gosko, Total and others.
The Digistics warehouse is expected to be another landmark project. Digistics is a specialized logistics company that has grown significantly over the past decade to become a key player in multi-temperature distribution operations across South Africa. With influential clients including KFC and McDonalds, the company has become the leader in the Quick Service Restaurant industry.To extend its portfolio and as a part of the overall growth strategy, it has chosen to house its main distribution hub at Cornubia.
As Digistics director, Andre Nel, explains: “The area creates the beginning of a new logistics node in KwaZulu-Natal with a modern industrial park feel. We are expecting to see the usual high quality infrastructure that Tongaat Hulett Developments has delivered in other areas in the past to serve as a platform for our long-term growth needs. Through partnering with J.T. Ross, we were able to meet an aggressive building plan to ensure that we are operational in the new facility by the end of 2013”.
The intention is to grow this facility and it has been designed to accommodate significant expansion in the short to medium term, says Smith.
Smith says that JT Ross is considering further investment in Cornubia but is not confining its interests to the north of Durban. In the wake of announcements surrounding the proposed dig-out port, he says there is significant interest in what he terms the golden triangle – Jacobs, Mobeni and Prospecton – where the company has redeveloped a number of warehousing and distribution facilities.
These include UTI in Jacobs, the 35 000 square metre Corsair distribution centre, Heneways in Edwin Swales Drive and Landside Logistics on the southern side of Durban.
JT Ross is about to start development of a new warehouse in Jacobs.
Smith says that JT Ross specialises in identifying properties that can be redeveloped in this area as there is little suitable, flat land for development. “To meet the demand for facilities that can handle containers, trucks and are flat, older properties need to be debulked, reconfigured and rejuvenated.”
They recently completed a warehouse for Shave and Gibson in South Coast Road. He said a large portion of the building on what used to be a manufacturing site had to be demolished to create a 5 000 square metre yard and space for a modernised warehouse to be developed.