News Research

Back-to-work benefitting SA’s business parks and secondary CBDs

Joburg's skyline.

In an analysis of the impact of lockdown and the resurgence of the conventional workplace, Lightstone has revealed that business parks and secondary CBDs are leading the post-Covid-19 recovery in terms of activity, followed by industrial nodes, then primary CBDs and lastly, mixed residential.

CIPC and VAT registration data was accessed to identify business nodes. “Deep dive analytics would have spread the net wider, but this study considered 40 metropolitan suburbs as South Africa’s key business nodes where either the suburb holds 2 000+ VAT registered businesses within them or only 500+ but suburb naming convention indicates a CBD / industrial / business area supplemented with a handful of other well-known industrial areas”, says Joe Spring, Head of Location and Commerce at Lightstone.

These 40 suburbs were clustered into one of five node ‘types’ namely:

  • Primary CBDs – Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban
  • Secondary CBDs – the area surrounding CBDs e.g., Alberton Central
  • Industrial areas – like Kya Sands, Isando, Paarden Eiland
  • Business Parks – e.g., Umgeni Business Park
  • Mixed residential – areas with a strong interspersed residential and business focus e.g., Bryanston, Sandown, etc.

The table shows the 40 suburbs within their node type with the 65% of them that are Gauteng-based colour coded accordingly on the map.

Telemetry data allows for an understanding of stop activity within these nodes. Limiting our lens to this activity that is both non-resident and not retail-based, within business hours, provides sound insights into business activity levels and recovery per node”.

Considering quarterly volumes of these stops against Q1 2020 volumes, Spring said business parks and secondary CBDs had recovered most, followed by industrial nodes, primary CBDs and lastly Mixed residential. Where the graphs indicate 100% it means the activity has fully recovered to pre-Covid times.

The greater post-Covid impact on the mixed residential node is likely attributable to the type of business found in these areas (56% of CIPC/VAT registered businesses in mixed residential suburbs are Financial, Real Estate & Business Services) lending themselves to employees logging-in remotely.

*Only the activity within the core suburb itself is considered – Johannesburg Central for example does not include Braamfontein or Marshalltown.