Did you know that Durban was named after Sir Benjamin D’urban, a British general?
So it’s about time this seaside village got the urban put back into D’urban…
My mom is a die hard Durban fan and is a wealth of information about the city (she’s even a qualified city tour guide!) and my Dad escaped Joburg as soon as he could to become one of Durban’s top fashion designers in the late 70’s. Underrated by many, it’s my home town so it’ll always have a place in my heart.
For as long as I can remember, it’s been a city with potential. The Port of Durban or, Durban Harbour, is the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. (It handles up to 31.4 million tons of cargo each year!)
It’s a rich spicy curry pot of culture and is central to game reserves, the stunning Natal midlands and magnificent coast lines.
Bush, Berg, Beach: it’s a triple threat city.
And lets face it, Durbanites are some of the most friendly okes you get. But sadly, the city hub was discarded by big corporates who’ve moved further and further north. It’s gorgeous in the sugar cane so who can blame them, but the city is Durban’s heart and soul. And it’s now finally transforming. The beat is back.
Durban city is being systematically bought back by a collection of pioneering mavericks. One key player is Urban Lime – literally putting the urban back in D’urban. A noteworthy project is the regeneration of the iconic 320 Pixley (previously 320 West street), one of the tallest buildings in South Africa. (Measuring in at 111 meters tall with 30 floors; built in Durban in 1973)
It’s been repurposed to cater to over a two hundred small businesses (small offices, from 14sqm upwards, and larger tenants take full floors of up to 1290 sqm!) The first floor is retail, there’s a coffee shop on the 23rd floor and even a gym is coming soon!
The team is not just pooling all resources into one building, they’ve identified key areas in the Durban landscape and are buying up and regenerating clusters of buildings in specific areas to create hubs and precincts.
Durban is getting a new lease on life.
Add these places to go to your Durban to do list!