CBD Redevelopment - Successful Regeneration of Durban's Declining Hubs

Successful Regeneration

Developments with the right mix for live-work-play are attracting people back to declining hubs

By Bonny Fourie

MIXED-USE developments catering for today’s live-work-play trend continue to hold the power for regeneration in many arears and if developed and managed correctly, can also attract people back to declining main hubs, such as the DURBAN CBD.

The challenge is getting the right balance between commercial and residential, experts say.

“Mixed-use developments, when thought out correctly, can have a great regenerative effect on arears. Generally those with the live-work-play theme have proven successful over time”. Says Yianni Pavlou, company principal at Portfolio Property Investments.

However, he says this is the case only when they are priced correctly and the retail or commercial offerings are in line with the target LSM categories.

Crime is a concern that can also be countered with the right mixed-use developments, and is particularly true in the city centre where, says Keith Chetty , Chas Everitts commercial manager for the CBD, safety is the biggest factor for people and business.

MIXED FORMULA SUCCESS

‘Crime has increased considerably in the CBD and most feel safer shopping in malls. If larger buildings in the city centre were revamped into malls with good security, this would certainly attract more activity”

Efforts are beings made to address this in the city centre, and adding people to this environment has created “additional energy “in the urban landscape says frank Reardon, divisional director for brokering at Broll Kwa-Zulu Natal.

However, giving an area the correct feel for residential or commercial at the right times is a challenge for the mixed-use buildings. How can an area with commercial activity feel like “home” for those who live there, and like a place of business for those who engaged in commercial activities?

“With difficulty,” answers Reardon, but quality, family friendly public spaces would be a good starting point.”

He says mixed-use in KZN has not always been successful when mixing commercial and retail underneath residential property, and often performs badly, especially in decentralised mixed-use precincts.

“South African Retail is concentrated in dedicated centres, unlike in many other parts of the world, especially Europe. This mitigates against large amounts of street –front retail linked to residential being successful. CBD mixed-use will also target lower LSMs, meaning smaller potential spend in the associated retail”

Pavlou says success also depends on what kind of development is aloud from a zoning point of view. For example, certain business such as pubs and night clubs generally do not work well with residential components.

But coffee shop and take-away establishments that close at reasonable hours offer convenience for the residential component.

Chetty believes the concept of the Tongaat Hullet development at Bridge City will work well in the CBD.  

Courtesy: The Independent on Saturday

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