Trendy new offices for boom town

Nelson Mandela Bay is undergoing a major facelift, with developers working around the clock to deal with huge demand for trendy new office space - the result of the city experiencing its biggest business boom ever, say experts.

But the trendy new office space doesn't come cheap at R10 000/m² and more.

There are four major "grade A" office block developments going up around the city and due for completion between the end of this year and the last quarter of 2008. They include an office park next to Madison on First in Walmer, an office park near the Caltex garage along the William Moffett expressway, the Moffett on Main lifestyle centre opposite Walmer Park shopping centre and an office block in Park Drive.

Developers say the demand by businesses for new lifestyle- orientated "live, work, play" office environments with gyms, restaurants and coffee shops - currently only seen in larger centres like Johannesburg and Cape Town - is a result of a business boom in the region.

Bowman Olivier Properties co-director Marios van Dongen said: "There hasn't been significant new development of office space in Port Elizabeth during the last 10 years. The supply has been taken up in Newton Park, Greenacres, Walmer and upper Central and we are now sitting with a big shortage."

Economist Dr Neal Bruton said the demand for new, high- priced office space was encouraging. "The boom is a sign of growing confidence and future confidence in the city and the region," he said.

Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dave Coffey said despite the business confidence index for the city being its highest ever, true growth would occur when outside companies saw the likes of Coega come online in the next 12 to 18 months.

Davau Developments co-director Wayne Vauqulin said his company was developing two upmarket lifestyle-orientated office blocks along William Moffett and alongside Walmer's Madison on First restaurant.

The Walmer office park will include eight penthouse apartments along with a gym and the adjoining restaurant - Madison on First. Van Dongen said an increasing number of national businesses were beginning to open branches in Nelson Mandela Bay and looking for new office space.

Article by: Brian Hayward -