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Why Joburgers love ‘mixed-use’ living in Melrose Arch

11 Sep 2019

In urban areas, different types of properties evolve at varying rates. Coffee shops and small eateries might spring up in a rundown area before the appearance of shared workspaces. Studio apartments might be drawing in more people and leading to round-the-clock activity where once these were desolate areas after dark. Or, perhaps startups and entrepreneurs might emerge initially, followed by eateries and cafés, thereafter shops and accommodation.

One on Whiteley, a new development in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, will offer 10 apartments priced from R2.35 million to R4 million - click here to view.

There is no set sequence, but the property mix is ultimately usually similar: commercial (office), retail (shops) and residential (apartments), says Nicholas Stopforth, Managing Director of Amdec Property Developments, owners and operators of Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

Whether economically or through legislation, local authorities and city planners can do only so much to address urban decay by supporting renewal. Ultimately, areas will go through peaks and troughs at their own pace, and the unfortunate reality is that more often than not, growth and regeneration cannot be sustained as tastes change and trends move on, says Stopforth.

However, he says there are areas within modern cities where conditions are more favourable for prolonged prosperity and where property and lifestyle trends can be more closely aligned such that areas can continue drawing people in, versus falling out of favour over time.

This two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, offers a spacious kitchen, private patio with built-in braai and lovely views of the garden. It is selling for R5.6 million- click here to view.

These are mixed-use precincts, where different types of property co-exist and each can thrive thanks to the connection and integration of uses with the others. No matter the size, the boundaries of these precincts are fixed and daily operations are centralised, bringing all-round benefits - chief among them security and convenience.

“If a mixed-use development is planned and managed well, it has the capability to move with the times. Through ongoing evolution, it can renew and reinvent itself, remaining relevant and sought after,” says Stopforth.

He says they acquired Melrose Arch in 2005, long before the mixed-use concept was as prevalent as it is today. In the interceding years, it has become the thriving mixed-use precinct that it is today - a perennial favourite with residents, tenants and visitors.

View property for sale in Melrose Arch

How has it managed to sustain its success?

In an era where time is scarce and crime is a concern, Stopforth says the mixed-use concept has a lot to offer, not least because it can keep evolving.”

“We believe in it because our aim is to build communities through property by creating environments where people can live, work and relax - all within close proximity, and with the peace of mind that they are safe and their possessions are secure,” he says.

This apartment in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, offers two bedrooms and bathrooms, a well-appointed kitchen and patio with views of the garden and pool. It is on the market for R5.2 million - click here to view.

“Mixed-use developments could change the way we live and positively impact our lifestyle because they have the potential to become communities in and of themselves.”

If you live and work here, you get to know other people who live and work here too. This leads to social connectedness, which in turn improves quality of life, and is known to boost longevity. If you spend leisure time here, you’re likely to get to know other people who do the same. And so, these positive cycles are perpetuated and eventually become the norm.

Melrose Arch is a prime example of the mixed-use property model. Over time, the initial investment has shown exceptional growth. Today, Melrose Arch comprises 200 000sqm of mixed-use property, with an additional 350 000sqm in the planning phases.

Along with a large component of commercial office property on site, the development also includes dozens of bars, restaurants and coffee shops. More than 100 top retailers, ranging from major national and international brands to small, independent stores, call Melrose Arch home. There is a flagship Virgin Active gym in the precinct, as well as the high-end Daytona automotive dealership.

This two bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom apartment in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, has a large entertainment area. It is selling for R6.5 million - click here to view.

Four new restaurants have opened recently, including the popular Tiger’s Milk, reflecting the vibrancy that continues to draw people in. These new arrivals coincide with the handover to residents of the latest apartment block, One on Whiteley, due to welcome its first occupants soon.

With three more apartment blocks in the offing, and construction commencing on commercial office buildings, Melrose Arch is forging ahead, despite tough economic times, pointing the way to the city of the future.

“Gone are the days of urban jungles and faceless crowds. In future, we could be living, working and relaxing in close proximity, spending much less time commuting and stuck in traffic, and more time enjoying the things we love with the people we care about. Through constant improvement and progression, mixed-use precincts are reshaping the way we live, for the better,” says Stopforth.

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