Advice and Opinion

The future of the workforce looks to mixed-use developments

A aerial view of The Yacht Club construction site in Cape Town.
A aerial view of The Yacht Club construction site in Cape Town.

The days of operating from business parks on the urban periphery are numbered. Office spaces in well-located mixed-use precincts are where the world is headed. Being accessible to one’s clients, suppliers, business associates, and employees – with all necessary business and lifestyle amenities close by – is not just convenient, but also makes good business sense by way of health and well being, and productivity.

Traffic congestion is a key driver and like elsewhere in the world, South African companies are increasingly moving towards office premises in easily accessible mixed-use developments. You can see why. According to the INRIX 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard, which was released in February this year, commuters in Johannesburg lost on average 119 hours in 2018 due to traffic jams.

Capetonians lost 162 hours last year whilst going to and from work, which is over 20 workdays,” says Nicholas Stopforth, Managing Director for Amdec Property Developments. “This is bad for businesses. Every unproductive hour spent in traffic is an hour lost. This affects bottom lines, agility, profitability, and ultimately economic growth.


This is where mixed-use precincts such as the Amdec Group’s Melrose Arch in Johannesburg and The Yacht Club in Cape Town have started to make a difference. For example, The Yacht Club is situated a stone’s throw from the Mother City’s downtown financial district, the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the V&A Waterfront, and access points to both the N1 and N2 highways. 

Over and above 170 apartments and Africa’s first AC Hotel by Marriott, The Yacht Club development features 6,000m2 of platinum grade commercial office space.

Stopforth says, “Our vision for The Yacht Club was to merge convenience and accessibility with the amenities and advantages of a city.”

Positive spin-offs

This approach has also been implemented at Melrose Arch, and will be brought to the upcoming Harbour Arch precinct in Cape Town and there’s every reason to do it. “Not having to commute or get stuck in traffic saves time, reduces stress and fatigue, pushes up productivity and improves quality of life,” Stopforth explains.

Proximity to desirable lifestyle and leisure options, is another reason why mixed-use precincts make a lot of sense as office locations. “The Yacht Club, for instance, is situated near the entrance to the V&A Waterfront, there’s an on-site gym that is free to use for commercial office tenants, and the coffee shops and restaurants of downtown Cape Town are just a short walk away. Direct pedestrian access to the Waterfront, or the regular water taxi service that stops right outside The Yacht Club, on the banks of the Roggebaai Canal, makes it quick, easy and convenient to shop, eat or meet at any of a number of places“.

Convenience & security

Other advantages of operating from mixed-use developments include the opportunity for businesses to benefit from one another’s resources. The Yacht Club, for example, has the advantage of having the AC Hotel by Marriott on-site. The hotel offers state-of-the-art boardrooms, meeting rooms, video-conferencing and other facilities for business use. These can be utilised on an on-demand basis, rather than having to rent them long term, as part of your office rental contract. The hotel can also take care of catering as and when needed, removing the need to co-ordinate this yourself, which could otherwise prove cumbersome and time consuming.

The security offered by mixed-use precincts is the other major factor in their appeal as places to work and live. Without feeling fenced in, their demarcated boundaries make it comparatively easy to provide iron-clad protection for people and property. The Yacht Club uses advanced building management systems to provide integrated security and round-the-clock protection to people and property. 

In all our developments our security systems are preventative rather than reactive, comprising 24-hour monitored cameras connected to a centralised control room,” says Stopforth. The Amdec Group’s Melrose Arch is widely acknowledged as one of the safest public places in Johannesburg. “The constant presence of people makes mixed-use developments much safer for residents, business owners and their staff, clients, and visitors. Precincts like The Yacht Club are in use 24/7, and not just during working hours.”

Living and working in a mixed-use precinct makes sense on a number of levels. A brand-new development like The Yacht Club delivers even more benefits because of the high-quality infrastructure that comes with the lifestyle and overall environment that it offers.