Mixed-use developments are the new benchmark for uMhlanga
Category Chas Everitt Commercial Division
In uMhlanga, as in many towns around SA and the world, high-end mixed-use developments are increasingly becoming the norm as both residential and commercial property users seek shorter commutes, increased convenience and greater security.
That’s the word from Chas Everitt International commercial manager for uMhlanga, Dennis Davidson, who says mixed-use precincts are typically self-contained areas or suburbs that encompass shops, offices, artisanal businesses and light industries, medical and educational facilities, restaurants and recreational venues like theatres, casinos, parks and gyms as well as places of worship and significant numbers of residential properties.
“They promote the “live-work-and-play” concept as well as “walkability” and these days usually also bring technology and sustainability to the fore.
“For example, there will often be high-speed internet connectivity throughout the precinct that enables residents to work from home, shop from home and monitor security, and at the same time enables local authorities to manage service networks, public transport and community facilities in real time.
“In addition, mixed-use developments will often make extensive use of “green” or sustainable building designs and methods, and retro-fit features like solar geysers, solar panels (PVPs), roof insulation, water recycling systems and rainwater tanks to make older buildings more eco-friendly. LED streetlighting, the greening of public spaces like parks and courtyards with indigenous plants and the establishment of local food gardens (sometimes on rooftops) are increasingly also part of the design.”
For residential property buyers, he says, the major advantage of purchasing in a mixed-use area is easy to see, that is, the opportunity to live in a pleasant, secure and well-managed area and not have to commute out of that area for work, school or recreation.
“However, mixed-use precincts also offer major benefits for commercial property tenants or buyers, as the many blue-chip SA and multinational companies that are relocating to uMhlanga have discovered.
“These benefits include better access to infrastructure, including water, electricity and communications grids; better security due to the joint crime-fighting and environmental protection efforts of property owners, often in collaboration with the local authority; and more productivity because employees can spend additional time working instead of commuting.”
Davidson notes that although uMhlanga already boasts quite a number of mixed-use developments and precincts, demand continues to rise as more companies and corporations seek to relocate or set up new branches close to the King Shaka International Airport and the Dube Tradeport.
“And this is, of course, encouraging developers, who have now pegged the town as a strong target for even more mixed-use projects.”
Prominent mixed-use developments
uMhlanga New Town Centre
In 2001, the uMhlanga New Town Centre started to be pieced together. At the time, it represented the first mixed-use development in the town, and the only other successful commercial development nearby was La Lucia Ridge Office Estate, situated in Durban North.
Fast forward 17 years and the New Town Centre is now a leader in the commercial market and renowned for its A- and P-grade office buildings that overlook sweeping views of the Indian Ocean. Complementing the commercial component is a multitude of retail stores, motor dealerships, call centres, hotels and banks. The most notable feature, however, is the R1,4bn Gateway shopping centre.
An example of a prime office space currently available in the New Town Centre is a 1177sqm office unit located in the AAA-rated Liberty Life building. It is on the second floor and features a 36sqm balcony overlooking vast green spaces. As a whole, the building is designed along ultra-modern lines with a structural glass exterior that makes it easily identifiable. Furthermore, it is integrated with energy efficient systems including solar water heating, LED energy saving light bulbs and double pane low-E windows.
uMhlanga Ridge Town Centre
Following in the footsteps of the New Town Centre is the uMhlanga Ridge Town Centre. This vibrant precinct is an amalgamation of residential, commercial, retail, medical, educational and leisure elements.
It is the location of the office node known as uMhlanga Ridgeside. Here, you can uncover some of the most distinguished office parks the region has to offer such as Park Square, uMhlanga Arch and Ridge 7. The entire town centre is also seamlessly connected via a series of pedestrian-friendly roads, parks and public open spaces that are ideal for lunch-time breaks.
Since the beginning of the millennium, uMhlanga has been a property leader in various sectors. Its popularity among developers, investors and property consumers has sparked massive development that has inspired game-changing projects such as the uMhlanga New Town Centre and uMhlanga Ridge Town Centre, which will continue to set the standard for mixed-use developments both in the town and throughout the country.
Author: Chas Everitt International Property Group