Dubai-based company, IFA Hotels and Resorts, recently announced that the green light has been given to go ahead with the construction of the multibillion-rand Zimbali Lakes Resort, which looks to create an out-of-this-world residential resort, retail environment and office park in Ballito.

The news comes after the end of a seven-year legal battle with the existing Zimbali Estate Management Association that was said to be over a 10ha plot of land and subsequently forced operations to be put on ice. Construction for Zimbali Lakes actually began in 2008 but was interrupted in 2010 by litigation, with earlier construction including the building of the main trunk sewer, two pump stations and earthworks for nine of the 18 holes for the planned golf course.

This project includes the development of a 30ha lake that is intended to add value to surround real estate, which ultimately includes residential areas, a lifestyle retirement village, a lakes resort node, Zimbali Office Estate and Ocean Club Zimbali. The development is expected to be a 25-30 year long-term investment that will have an enormous impact on the region and great means to make a significant contribution to the KwaDukuza municipal rate base.

With regards to the Zimbali Office Estate alone, R15 million of the real estate has been sold and this is expected to contribute significantly to alleviating Ballito’s shortage of office spaces. As many as 2715 units will be created, which includes 456 mixed-use homes, 500 bulk and frail care units, 650 resort units, a 200-bed hotel, 441 sectional title units and 218 single dwelling units, as well as 1.7km of waterfront boasting boat beach and sports clubs.

IFA”s senior vice-president of African operations, Phillip de Sylva recently stated that the architectural guidelines have been relaxed to make it cheaper and easier to develop, as well as eco-friendly with regards to being more energy efficient and accommodating water recycling.

While we may not know exactly what the future for Zimbali Lakes holds, one thing is for sure – this has to be one of the most exciting developments that Durban has seen in quite some time.