Umhlanga Arch – Work, Live and Play – Perfect Match for Mixed Use

Development Overview

Umhlanga Arch is a bespoke mixed-use development that broke ground in the 3rd quarter of 2017. The R1.3Bn mixed-use development comprising of a 203-key Hilton Garden-Inn hotel, 162 residential apartments including and 30 New York style lofts, AAA grade offices, SMG BMW’s flagship motor dealership, high-street retail offering, and exclusive members-only facility situated 220 meters above sea-level on the 28th floor called The Pencil Club, which includes lounges, a library, multiple restaurants, meeting rooms, gym, private dining areas, and a rooftop bar boasting 360 degree views of Durban.     



Umhlanga Arch gets its namesake from its iconic curved glazed office façade design maximizing the development’s prime corner site position and panoramic ocean views with an opening through the middle of the building creating an “Arch”. The ethos of the development was to create a ‘live, work, play” environment and this was achieved through the multiple mixed-use nodes i.e., leisure, commercial, retail, and residential offerings.

The development encompasses 45,000m² of bulk and when services and parking added the total construction area over 120,000m² was built. The parking over 7-levels topped out with a podium which forms the ground floor to the mixed-use nodes.


As with all large developments of this kind there are many moving parts, the design is continuously being developed over the 4-year period and changing given the trends moving over time. Added to this all the various nodes were being constructed simultaneously where each had their own unique complexities, planning intricacies and co-ordination challenges to deal with, solutions had to be found swiftly while still being cost effective as every element had a knock-on effect on each other.

The developers elected to partner with strategic stakeholders all having different invested interests within the development and as such, detailed and complex cost reporting had to be conducted against each of the nodes.

At the peak of the construction programme, we faced the COVID-19 global pandemic. With so many uncertainties, procurement strategies had to be re-assessed, materials had to be considered based on availability, and designs had to be reviewed with the new considerations that COVID-19 demanded. Client, Consultants, Contractors, and Suppliers had no choice but to pull together and navigate through the uncharted waters finding streamlined solutions.


All things considered given the size and nature of the development, The Umhlanga Arch mixed-use development was a resounding success and opened successfully albeit due to Covid a bit later than planned but within budget. The project now stands as a gem in the Umhlanga skyline, and MLC are proud to have been involved in this iconic development.