Mixed-use developments: S.Africa’s new fad - CNBC Africa

Mixed-use developments: S.Africa’s new fad


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Century City is a 250 hectare business hub with over 50,000 people living and working in the precinct.

The renowned trends in South Africa over the last few years has been the development of mixed-use properties. This trend is formalising the retail sector in non-metropolitan areas as well as investing in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The trend, since the late 1990’s amongst property developers, has been to combine retail, office, residential and leisure properties to form new business hubs all around South Africa.

“I think the trend will definitely continue as it is linked to people wanting to be closer to their work, shopping and play activities,” Anton de Goede, property equity fund manager at Coronation told ABN Digital in an exclusive interview.

The trend of mixed use developments however, started in the late 1990’s, with Century City, Cape Town and Melrose Arch, Johannesburg being amongst the first of its kind.

Century City, for instance, is a 250 hectare business hub launched in 1997. With over 50,000 people living and working in the precinct and investment totalling over 16 billion rand, it has lived up to its dub of being a city within a city.

Melrose Arch on the other hand was launched in 1996 as the first post-apartheid new urbanism development in Johannesburg therefore carrying an architectural and cultural significance.

The mixed use development is valued around 5 billion rand and remains one of the largest urban developments in Johannesburg.

Following in the path of these mixed-use hub success stories is the Waterfall Estate set to be completed over the next 13 years with a total value well over 25 billion rand, making it the most ambitious mixed-use development in Africa.

The estate will stand at 1.6 million square meters in size and will host the Mall of Africa, which will reportedly be the biggest mall on the continent standing at 116 000 square meters.

“Waterfall Estate is definitely something that is of a bigger scale. All the residential space being developed around the Waterfall Estate will make it roughly the size of Sandton CBD so it is quite a substantial development,” said de Goede.

De Goede explained that the estate is strategically located between Johannesburg and Pretoria, creating an entirely new business hub between the two major cities.

While the trend for these developments has mainly been outside of city centres, the Atterbury Property Group, who are also responsible for the Waterfall project, have launched a development in the heart of Johannesburg, called the Newtown Junction.

The 1.3 billion rand mixed-use retail and business development will comprise of a shopping centre, offices, a hotel and a gym, giving new life to the city centre, which has been run down for a number of years.

James Ehler, managing director of Atterbury, stated that besides Newtown Junction being used to create a space for people to shop, work and live in, it will also create around 1,700 job opportunities.

The trend of mixed-use developments has proven to have created new business hubs that are not only convenient for South Africans, but are also key drivers of the country’s economy.