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The Rising Popularity Of Mixed-Use Developments: What’s Driving The Trend?

The development of mixed-use buildings as an urban living trend is growing hugely in popularity in South Africa.  But what is behind this increased demand?

According to Alexa Horne, Managing Director of Dogon Group Properties, affordability is a key factor behind this growing popularity as many of these mixed-use developments are launching apartments onto the market at highly affordable prices.  Another recognised driver is the lifestyle and convenience that these developments offer residents.

“Home ownership in the suburbs – once typified as the quintessential property dream – has declined among the younger generations who prioritise living in vibrant areas which are close to their work and leisure amenities.  Young professionals are looking for location over square footage.  They want to ditch their cars and travel on foot, bicycle, Uber or rely on public transport,” says Horne.  “And it’s not just them – older professionals who want to escape the daily commute to the office, as well as the elderly who are downscaling and looking for convenience and safety, are all turning their attention to mixed-use developments.”

Convenience and rental returns
Paul Upton, who heads up new developments for Dogon Group Properties, explains that mixed-use developments blend commercial office space with retail and residential living, creating an all-in-one location that is built for convenience.  “But their attraction doesn’t end there: mixed use developments also create exciting investment opportunities with the option of attractive rental returns as most are situated in central urban spaces, so the demand from potential tenants is high.”

Maximised use of limited urban space
“As the world population continues to rise, suitable land for development is becoming scarce.  In many cities throughout the world, mixed-use developments are being built to use space effectively in the context of a rapidly growing population and this is no less true for South Africa,” continues Upton, who says that the high-density nature of mixed-use developments means that they can help to reduce urban sprawl through a more effective use of space. This has made ‘Urban Developments’ an attractive proposition in cities facing rapid population growth as seen in Cape Town.

Mixed-use developments are also seen as a green and sustainable option. “More effective design, incorporating better use of space creates a more viable option, a number of developers are utilizing sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and infrastructure which improve energy use by occupants.  As well as increasing the life cycle of the building, the energy efficiency factor is a drawcard for tenants.”

Getting the balance right
In order for mixed-use developments to be a success, getting the right mix of retail, office and accommodation is crucial.  If each unit does not complement the other, developers can potentially face a situation a struggle to fill the new space.  “For example, if there are retail units in the form of shops, cafés and bars, the right combination of accommodation and office space will impact these businesses’ efforts to receive footfall and patronage.  Developers also have to consider the needs of each business and ensure that these needs aren’t to the detriment of others within the development – i.e., noise disturbance from a restaurant that could potentially affect apartments above it etc.”

Redefining luxury mixed-use developments“Dogon is currently working with developers on a number of extremely exciting mixed-use developments. We are seeing how the right combination of retail, residential and commercial units can work to really create a vibrant and in-demand building.  One such development is a totally unique, luxury mixed-used development which has launched on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard called Station House, which is set to redefine what people look for in mixed-use buildings, as well as the future of inner-city living,” says Upton.

Located at 19 Kloof Road in the heart of Sea Point, Station House is a 12-storey architectural masterpiece, that when completed, will feature 230 meticulously appointed luxury apartments, ranging from studios to one-beds, two-beds and micro units – with prices starting at only R1.595m VAT inclusive. 

The development will also feature 15 facilities within one address.  A boutique hotel – providing investors an alternative property asset option (which includes a 12J tax incentive investment opportunity) within the Atlantic Seaboard – a signature Pick n Pay supermarket, a street-front deli bar and restaurant, a private-residents lounge with braai areas, private rooftop residents pool, a dedicated pet park, an outdoor kinetic gym, yoga studio, a business centre with meeting pods, as well as an open-to-the-public sky bar, swimming pool and restaurant – all of which will enjoy incredible views of the ocean, Lions Head and the city scene.

Other examples of mixed-use developments currently on the market through Dogon include The Rubik – a luxury mixed-use building situated in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD on the corner of Loop and Riebeek Streets, and Foreshore Place – an iconic 70’s high-rise in the city’s downtown financial district, which features 34 storeys of ultra-modern, luxury residential and commercial premises.

“Gone are the days of inner-city living being a novelty and enter the days of “Great City Addresses”, such as these mixed-use developments, that are inspiring to live in,” concludes Upton.