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How have mixed-use developments weathered the pandemic?

When it comes to weathering the pandemic the saying ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ rings true. And same can be said for mixed-use developments that feature various elements making them more resilient to change.

Frank Reardon, chief operating officer at Fundamentum and chairman of the uMhlanga Village UIP, gives us his views on how mixed-use developments fared over the pandemic:

  1. What value do mixed-use developments add to the urban landscape for the public and tenants? 

Mixed-use developments are multi-faceted urban spaces purposefully designed to eliminate the need for commuting. They are kinder to the planet and help to create a happier work / life balance for those who live and work there.

  1. How has the pandemic affected mixed-use developments? 

It’s too early to tell but it seems as though the mixed-use nodes have been more resilient than their commercial counterparts. With residential, retail and leisure elements as part of their makeup, they don’t solely rely on people coming to work. Offices appear to have been more adversely affected, hence the accelerated trend to converting surplus office space into other uses including to residential.

  1. What do you think investors will be looking for in a mixed-use development going forward especially in light of the pandemic?

Investors would certainly be looking for an attractive investment opportunity within a well-managed precinct. The lockdown clearly revealed the public space service delivery gap between unmanaged precincts compared to those with an effective municipal / private sector management structure in place.

  1. What kind of experience do you think the public will be looking for in a mixed-use development going forward? 

The public will be attracted to mixed-use developments which are easily accessible, secure, well maintained and offer a wide variety of high-quality amenities – all with COVID-19 protocols in place.

Looking ahead it would seem that a diverse offering in a strong location is key for investors looking to future-proof their property investments.


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