THINK country village but better, a masterplan with a sense of place and space in a development designed with the future in mind.
Durban property development group JT Ross has announced a new neighbourhood retail/residential development in the idyllic KwaZulu-Natal town of Hilton with particular consideration given to the lifestyle and priorities of the community.
The 23ha site abuts onto Hilton Avenue towards the prestigious Hilton College, while its neighbours include the recently completed Life Hilton Private Medical Centre and the independent Grace College.
It also adjoins the upmarket Garlington Country Estate and the Wedgewood eco-housing estate.
The preparation of the land will get underway as early as later this month with some clearing expected of the existing eucalyptus plantation to ease in the preparation for the development. As a result the site could be off limits for recreation from time to time.
Grant Smith of JT Ross, said the project, which was still in the feasibility stages, is being designed as an upmarket retail, office and residential neighbourhood with a view to creating a convenient and contemporary town centre with a strong sense of place.

“When we bought the land two months ago we inherited the rights for a large commercial centre, offices and a small residential development. But when we looked at the proposed plans we felt they were unsympathetic to the surrounding landscape – to build a traditional shopping mall-type development with numerous offices was just not appropriate,” said Smith.
As a result the Hilton New Town Centre development is expected to initially include 8 000m2 of “neighbourhood” retail, 11 000m2 in office space phased in over five to ten years with the remaining lion’s share of the property dedicated to upmarket freestanding homes and exclusive apartment spaces surrounded by landscaped gardens, walkways and lush greenery.

“We see this development as a masterplan for Hilton’s future with a curated High Street retail offering. We have done a great deal of research as to what is needed and what type of development would best serve the interests of residents while at the same time promoting harmonious and empathetic economic growth,” Smith said.
He said the designers had remained “mindful of the established rules”. “We have included buffer landscaping particularly on the boundaries of the property. We seek to plant an avenue of trees on the main road, as well as clean up the verges. We are taking the concept of a country village to another level. The aesthetics of the project are very important to us. So far we are very proud of our plans. We are in this for the long term,” Smith said.
The first drawings of the proposed architectural theme of the office precinct of the project reveal high ceiling buildings with smooth but edgy, urban country-styled detail. The raw exteriors give a nod to the trademark redbrick synonymous with Pietermaritzburg.
“We had a look at similar master planned projects in Gauteng and the Western Cape, took the best of what we saw there and included it in our plans. We want lots of sunlight, spacious courtyards, avenues of trees along wide boulevards, verandahs, and aspects which give residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular environment.
“This is definitely not a shopping mall approach, but rather a contiguous space that is safe for families and children – where people can gather and meet.”
Smith said he was spending a great deal of time talking to residents, business owners and concerned parties to ensure the property group was respectful and considerate to the needs of the community.
“While we believe that village living must adapt to the changing times, we want to make absolutely sure that the community is comfortable with our plans. We really want people to feel included in what we believe is going to be an asset for the residents of Hilton,” he said.
The JT Ross Property Group was also responsible for the revamp of its headquarters, Durban’s iconic Lion Match building, which the firm not only restored to its former glory, but seamlessly integrated contemporary offices and working spaces into the historic space.

For further information contact Grant Smith on 031 372 9700 or