Durban celebrates R1.6 billion reinvention of Suncoast

The new food court at Suncoast

Uniquely located at the verge of the Indian Ocean on the northern end of Durban’s Golden Mile, Suncoast has been reinvented at a cost of R1.6 billion, providing Durban with a world-class attraction for both local and international visitors.

From floor to ceiling and length to length, the entire property has been refurbished. Floor space has increased to a total of 48 012m² – the equivalent of five rugby fields – with facilities carefully planned to deliver on the needs of a diverse audience, from families, to casino patrons to movie-lovers to theatre-goers and the corporate market.

Originally constructed by Tsogo Sun at a cost of R1.4 billion in 2002, Suncoast has an annual footfall of almost six million entertainment-seekers. The redevelopment project – which includes the addition of 10 new eateries, three retail outlets, increased casino space, a newly located Salon Privé with 180-degree sea views, a Barnyard Theatre, a multi-purpose event venue and increased underground parking – has added 8 000 square metres of space to the Golden Mile.

Speaking at the celebration of Suncoast’s relaunchin December 2018, Glenn Joseph, COO of Tsogo Sun Gaming, said, ‘Tsogo Sun remains committed to the development and economic growth of Durban. We have spent over R4 billion on casino and hotel refurbishments in the past five years – R1.6 billion of which has been invested into Suncoast. This redevelopment project has been the bulk of our focus with regards to capital expenditure, and is testament to our confidence in South Africa, and in Durban in particular.’

Capitalising on the location that sets it apart from any other entertainment destination in the KZN region, Suncoast’s sea-facing façade has been opened up, creating a family-friendly environment on the lower-level and a Salon Privé unlike any on the continent, with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.

‘There is no single entertainment destination with the spread of offerings that Suncoast has. We aim to become Durban’s most loved entertainment destination by ensuring that there is something for the entire family and providing memorable experiences for every visitor,’ comments Mike Dowsley, director of operations of Suncoast.

On the casino floor, which has been completely refurbished with a modern new design, the slots allocation has increased from 1 600 slot machines to 1 850, while in the tables area, four new tables have been added, taking the total number to 71 tables.

On the lower level, the main casino and smoking casino, child care facility, eight cinemas, the enlarged Magic Company offering improved facilities and state-of-the-art games, 21 eateries, and retail stores, provide entertainment for all ages. The lower-level facilities also include a custom-built Barnyard Theatre and The Globe, a multi-purpose events venue.

Suncoast’s younger crowd have certainly not been forgotten, with a safe and secure outdoor area designed specifically for families, nestled among family-friendly restaurants, including Spur and John Dory’s. The restaurants open out onto a park-like, landscaped setting including a water play area.

An imposing foyer heralds the transition from the existing property into the new development, with a  staircase taking guests from the lower level to Suncoast’s fabulous new Privé on the upper level  and four new restaurants all commanding breath-taking views of the ocean. The property’s art deco theme has been extended into the Privé in a tasteful, opulent design that gives an immediate sense of arrival. The ample private gaming rooms, smoking areas and private tables, coupled with an inviting restaurant and balcony with magnificent sea views, make this one of the most distinct and upmarket Privés in the country.

Commenting on the dining options at Suncoast, Dowsley says, ‘We now have the perfect mix of fast food, family dining, casual dining and fine dining across a wide range of cuisines. The new offerings open up a world of choice in one destination.’

Among the choices are Calisto’s (Portuguese), La Rosa (Mexican) which is a first for KZN, Mythos (Greek), Lupa (Italian) and Billy G (upmarket buffet) – there is something to suit every palate. The much-loved Spur, John Dory’s, Mugg & Bean, Wimpy and Havana Grill have all been refurbished, while Café Vigour has been upgraded to Vigour & Verve and Nando’s is now a seated restaurant. The variety extends to the food court, where Roti & Chai, RocoGo and Krispy Kreme have joined the existing, refurbished outlets, along with Wet & Fatty Biltong Shop and Candy Coasters. On the retail front, visitors can spend time shopping at DNA and DNA Kid You Not.

The Barnyard makes a welcome return to Durban with the opening of its brand new, 800m² custom-built theatre, which has a seating capacity of 400 people. The theatre opens with Big Top Rock from 11 December to 24 February and will be open six days a week.

Suncoast will also become home to a variety of festivals, exhibitions, comedy shows, product launches, shows and concerts, courtesy of its new multi-purpose venue, The Globe. Capable of seating 2 200 people, the 2 000m² venue’s domed design can be moulded to suit every imaginable type of event. An exceptional line-up of entertainment has already been confirmed for December and into 2019, including international Bollywood artist, KK, Just Jinger, Loyisa Gola, Riaad Moosa, Skhumba, Lady Zamar and more.

Suncoast’s additional parking has been one of the most important aspects of the entire development, giving guests access to 3 600 bays, including a two level undercover parkade with 400 parking bays exclusive to Suncoast Black Rewards Cardholders. 

Security and safety of guests remains a strong focus, with the property providing security staff who patrol the entire promenade and the extensive security measures which are in place at all access points within the property, ensuring that Suncoast remains a safe destination for visitors.

The project, which was undertaken over 24 months ago, resulted in the creation of 1 400 temporary jobs during construction. As a result of the new facilities and upgrades, an additional 700 permanent jobs have been created.

Says Zibusiso Kganyago, development director of Tsogo Sun, ‘This journey goes back to 2008, when we first had the vision to take Suncoast to the next level. None of it would have been possible without the co-operation of the Gaming Board and the City. We are exceptionally proud of what Suncoast now offers as a truly world-class entertainment destination.  In terms of the retail facilities and our commitment to providing family-friendly destinations, we’ve remained true to Tsogo Sun’s values and standards. We are also exceptionally proud to have been joined on this journey by over 100 women, who have been part of the construction team, from tilers to mechanical engineers, a health and safety officer, female electricians, interior designers, architectural consultants and quantity surveyors, and we pay tribute to them, to our project management and construction team, and the hundreds of people who have worked tirelessly and with such passion to bring this project to fruition.’

‘It has been an incredible 24 months of development on this project.  The fact that this build was completed in record time, whilst remaining open 24/7/365 is an enormous achievement and testimony to the teamwork amongst all 57 contractors and our team of over 1 800 employees. Our sincere thanks must go to the City stakeholders for their partnership, shared vision, support and guidance, to Durban Tourism and Tourism KZN for positioning Durban and KZN, and to our precinct partners who continue to work to raise the product offering on the Golden Mile,’ says Dowsley. ‘We are ever conscious about sustainability for our employees as well as for the environment, and throughout this build we have ensured that maximum water and energy consumption saving has been in place.  We are blessed with a truly sustainable lifestyle in a city that is not only geared for growth, but has been voted as the Most Liveable City, and as the Greenest City in SA. So, our strategic focus on sustainability and employment will continue into the future as we support Durban as the ultimate place to live, work and play.’

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