Development of the Clairwood Office Park and Distribution Centre which has been the subject of repeated appeals from communities in the South Durban Basin has been rubber stamped by MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu.
Late on Monday afternoon, the MEC dismissed appeals lodged in response to the environmental authorisation granted in May 2015 and upheld that decision. As a result, construction of the R3,5 billion plus development is expected to begin during the first quarter of this year.
The Clairwood Logistics Park will be located on the site of the former Clairwood Race Course which was purchased by the then Capital Property Fund in 2012 for R430 million. An amended Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was submitted by the Capital Property Fund in September 2014 after objections relating to environmental, social and transport related issues were submitted. .
Capital Properties has since merged with JSE listed Fortress Income Fund which will now develop the project which comprises approximately 350 000 square metres of warehousing. The remainder will be paved yards to service the facilities.
The development will also include an eight hectare wetland which will be fully rehabilitated in order to incorporate indigenous fauna and flora.
“The Clairwood Logistics Park will not only meet growing demand for A grade logistics and distribution facilities in the south of Durban, but also improve the livelihoods of surrounding communities through job creation,” said Fortress Income Fund’s Development Manager, Nico Prinsloo.
The new facility is expected to create an estimated 18 900 jobs during the four year construction period and more than 4 600 permanent jobs after completion in December 2020. The development comes at a time when South Africa is facing significant job losses that will add to an already high unemployment rate as the economy slows.
The South Durban Basin, in which the Clairwood Logistics and Distribution Park falls, is a national economic hub which consists of an industrial area interspersed with a residential population. The basin is bordered by major transport linkages. Market research has indicated that both national and international businesses have a desperate need for modern logistics facilities in close proximity to both the existing port and the proposed Durban Dig Out Port.
The Clairwood Logistics Park site is strategically located and is the last remaining flat land available for development in South Durban. It is just 11,2 kilometres from the existing container terminal entrance and 3,5 kilometres from the site set aside for the Durban Dig Out port.
The EA noted that, due to the previous lack of flat land for development that was large enough to accommodate modern logistics facilities, a clear need existed for a development of this nature. It explained that basic supply and demand market forces in co-operation with other macro factors had created a quantifiable need for a development of this nature.
The R3,5 billion to be invested in developing the site includes R110 million that will be spent on extensive upgrades of roads and infrastructure surrounding the facility. “This will not only improve traffic flow into and out of the site but will ease overall traffic flow in the area and significantly improve road safety, especially for learners attending schools close to the site,” said Prinsloo.