The last time I spoke with Murray Collins, founding director of KZN-based real estate developer Collins Residential, was in November 2018. Much has changed since then in South Africa, KZN and around the world.
In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic that has been with us for about 20 months, most recently in July, we have seen the riots and riots in KZN and parts of Gauteng.
Despite Covid-19 and the July riots, Collins Residential continues its development in KwaZulu-Natal, mainly on the north coast. The private developer is behind the resurrection of the equestrian-themed estate near Sheffield Beach that is now simply called Seaton and is currently under development.
Next to this is the Zululami Luxury Coastal Estate. These two developments together are expected to generate an investment of more than R10 billion in the coming years.
In this episode of The Property Pod, we are talking to Murray Collins about the development of so-called ‘senior properties’. Collins Residential recently signed a partnership agreement with Rosebank-based Auria Senior Living, which will see the development of a billion-rand senior community called Coral Cove within Zululami.
The highlights of her interview appear below. You can also listen to the full podcast above or download it from iono, Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
We have heard of retirement homes. We have heard of retirement properties. But what are farms or communities for “seniors”? Isn’t it the same, just a fancier name?
“It could be classified like this. The expression ‘life for seniors’ is really just a modernized description of the US sector, and as Auria is a world-class offering, they bring US standards to Africa. So in effect, senior life, retirement communities, retirement properties are the same.
“It doesn’t really matter what it’s called. I think the important thing is to worry about continuity of care as one arrives independently, and in a senior living space with Auria they are looked after to the end. The name is not important. What is really important is what is offered in the particular place you choose to live. ”
The deal with Auria Senior Living
“Auria bought a piece of land within Zululami. In essence, what that means is that they will put 230 homes out of the 700 offers that we have in Zululami, which makes it a very multigenerational farm …
“That is [the] The highlight of Auria. What they offer is simply world class. Apart from the Michelin-style cuisine that they offer you, which is incredible, the experiential side is very important. The fact that it is a life for the elderly should not imply that people stop living and having fun.
“With Auria and Zululami obviously access to the beach is something wonderful; There are many walks, birds, reclaimed forests and golf courses literally very close.
“Being on the north coast allows people to have a wonderful standard of living and an experience-based way of life …”
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“We are selling the land to Auria and they are developing it for their trust.”
“I think if you calculate 700 opportunities that we are doing [within Zululami], and the infrastructure and the quality of the clubhouses that we have installed, I think it will exceed R3 billion once it is all finished, so it is a great injection in the north coast. ”
Collins Residential is still investing in Zululami and has several other developments up its sleeve. Must you be confident enough to continue wanting to invest in the province, even after the recent riots in KZN?
“Absolutely… Yes, we are. As you know, we are investors in the North Coast, but also in Africa and abroad. We are really positive and passionate about the North Coast.
“Just to quote the percentages in Zululami and Seaton, when we started selling, there was roughly a 50/50 split between the Gauteng and KZN buyers. But now we are 70% buyers in Gauteng and 30% in KZN. People are shopping for lifestyle, and people are here to stay and people are positive. If you take our climate and take our access and take our standard of living on the North Shore, it really is a no-brainer.
“It’s no wonder that Club Med took so long to choose a site, and they chose the north coast of Natal to develop the new Club Med, which will hopefully come online in the next two years.”
“So in essence it is a huge boost for South Africa, not just KZN but also for South Africa, in the confidence that the world is showing.”
“I would also like to say that we have sold more than four houses to foreigners: Americans, Belgians, Germans and residents of the United Kingdom. So it’s not just about us being positive, it’s about the world looking at us differently, saying, well, ‘There is a future in South Africa.
“We just have to make it positive and move on. All young democracies suffer setbacks, which we saw a couple of months ago. Obviously we were very sad about that, but we have to move forward positively, get together and make the most of where we are ”.
“We have finished the urbanism in Seaton; all of our approvals are in place. So far we have made R350 million in sales from the individual residential sites, and we have only launched a third of these sites. Only one sixth of the PUD [planned unit development] Sites have been erected and we have begun to build. So indeed, the Seaton [development] is on the way.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to have a massive launch. [for Seaton] due to Covid, but watch out for this space. ”
“We have not yet published anything about the high-density enclosure or the commercial [side]. So there is much to come. We are very excited about Seaton and it is going from strength to strength … ”
“At the retirement village in Mount Edgecombe we are closing some sales in Phase 2, and we will also launch Phase 3, which is our last phase. Sales have been steady and steady there. ”
“Our farm called Emberton, which is in Hillcrest, has basically finished Phase 2, which was sold. Again, we will launch Phase 3 in the new year, along with our ECD. [early childhood development] school for 80 students, which is very exciting for the area. So in essence, we are nearing the end of our development at Mount Edgecombe and Emberton, and our focus will be entirely on the North Shore. We are very excited about that. ”
“We are going to launch a farm in the interior of Seaton, which I don’t want to talk about much now, but it will be very exciting and it is a development of 600 units per house. It will be at a very good entry level. That will take place at the beginning of the year, next year, so we will release it.
“Obviously our tourism business at the moment has had a terrible last two years, [but] we are very excited about the rally in recent months in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Seychelles. ”
“Hopefully tourism comes on board … and, together with Club Med in a couple of years, tourism will come back en masse, which is vital for this country, and we must prepare for that.”
In total, what is the rand value of the Collins Residential developments in KwaZulu-Natal?
“That is a difficult question to answer. Actually I wouldn’t know … Seaton is a huge project and we have been involved with Royal Shaka Property Group, which has around 4,500 hectares, to develop between Sheffield [beach] and KwaDukuza.
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“So we have enough land and potential development for the next 15 years. But putting it in a monetary context would be impossible at this stage. ”
“I just think, you know, we always hear the negative in life and [on] social communication media; it is always the negative things that are reported.
“I think it’s time for South Africans, who are very resilient by nature, to get positive and make a difference because that’s what will move us forward.
“We know that mistakes have been made in the past, but I think we have to look to the future and choose leaders who will take us there.”