Bigger not necessarily better with more compact urban living predicted

With rising urbanization, cost of living increases and soaring inflation, more and more people are opting to live in city centres and inner suburbs, preferring to live, work, and play in close proximity. Location is therefore becoming fundamentally important for staff recruitment and companies. The more central the location the better.

The emerging trend in commercial real estate indicates that in addition to this, people are seeking broader experiences closer to home. “The advent of a flexible work culture and urbanization has seen commercial real estate investors adapting to the changing environment whereby there is a greater demand for mixed residential and commercial use developments to meet demand,” says Mike Walters of Fine & Country Commercial and CEO of Sentinel Property Group and Spacez Pty Ltd.

When asked about the commercial-residential mix of the future, Walters said, “I believe the commercial-residential mix of the future will be a little like what we are seeing develop on the main arterials of the pedestrian-friendly suburbs of Rosebank, and along the Atlantic Seaboard. Until now, we haven’t seen office and residential accommodation alongside each other in the same building. What we are seeing is cafés, restaurants and convenience stores on the ground floor and serviced office suites and apartments on the floors above. This is following a global trend, as technology and data services improve, people are searching for more experiences, becoming more mobile and flexible in the process. Compact ‘less hassle’ urban living in these cosmopolitan hubs is increasing, and, in time, as prices rise, will overflow into neighbouring areas.”

Expect more commercial-industrial mixed developments

He adds, “E-commerce, quicker delivery, on-demand information access and manufacturing are influencing industrial property needs. Smaller more flexible spaces in the right position, are required to enable increased efficiency and effectiveness for faster and free deliveries that enhance customer experience, thus blurring lines between these two property types.

“The office -industrial combination is already taking place to a certain degree in light industrial parks in our industrial areas. These suit smaller businesses and entrepreneurial-style operations, where the office component occupies 25-35% of the building and the rest is modern, clean warehousing for product storage, assembly, logistics or vehicle safe keeping.” explains Walters.

The rise of collaborative culture to revolutionise commercial real estate and disrupt the way companies lease and use corporate real estate“Start-ups, freelance and flexible work sharing initiatives reinforce the need for shared office space with low-risk commitment, collaborative benefits and central meeting points.

Commercial, especially office property owners face challenges from new competitors that are redefining office spaces, providing dynamically configurable spaces and flexible leases and associated services. “Property owners are more aware, and starting to recognise, and create what the market wants, which is a blend of different applications in these popular locations, instead of living in one area, working in another and dining or meeting in yet another. This type of lifestyle means less time spent in the car, and reduced travel time and costs. It is putting our town planning resources to work, but these mixed use applications are working, and the increased property values are proof of it.”

Linda Erasmus, CEO of Fine & Country sub-Saharan Africa, added, Fine & Country is a company that believes in building networks through service delivery. Our high-nett worth clients are business people and the idea to connect with a service orientated commercial company was just a matter of time for us in South Africa. Ultimately, it is about finding the right people to fit into our culture and the culture of our clients.

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