Could mixed-use developments be your next big corporate investment opportunity?
November 29, 2019

Work, Live, play

Nothing typifies modern, inner-city working better than mixed-use developments. As the name suggests, these developments combine commercial, residential and even industrial spaces into one property.

Often located in bustling hot spots, many businesses are making mixed-use buildings their new home. Particularly attractive in high density, high demand cities such as Cape Town CBD and Sandton in Joburg, these multi-purpose buildings integrate everything from commercial office space to retail stores, coffee shops, and even apartments.

Naturally, owning and running a building like this requires a great deal of expertise to ensure a peaceful, well-kept ecosystem.

Hello modern inner-city working

Evidence of mixed-use developments dates back to as early as the 1700s. In overcrowded Manhattan, the most densely populated part of New York, a compact city map depicted many multiple-use buildings within just a few acres. This was the perfect solution to accommodating the high demand for originally commercial buildings in New York’s economic and administrative center to cater to live-in residents as well.

International demand & catering to millennials’ ideal work environment

In the US, a call for more mixed-use developments continues to surge. According to, 85% of millennials in the US would consider working and living in such environments vs. 71% of baby boomers. Many believe that these developments instill a strong sense of community.

Factors to consider before investing

While South Africa is historically ‘slower on the uptake’, mixed-use developments are already a trend and are set to surge in 2020. For example, here are some of the most well know mixed-used developments in SA, some are already developed and some are still in the pipeline.

Western Cape:


Here are a few key points to consider before investing or developing a mixed-use building:

  • Design appeal: As a fundamental component, the visual appeal and layout of a mixed-use development is critically important to its commercial appeal and prosperity, as this will essentially impact demand, vacancies, and maintenance.
  • Location, location, location: An upcoming or established commercial area will yield the greatest returns. Seek areas that are poised for growth and where investments are on the up.
  • Amenities as the most crucial factor: A common trait amongst successful mixed-use development projects is proximity to amenities, otherwise known as walkability, with an increasing number of millennials electing to walk from their place of work rather than drive.
  • Affordability: As with anything, your building needs to be trendy yet affordable to keep overheads low.

Interested in investing in mixed-use developments on our own shores? Locally, densely populated cities such as Cape Town central, Sandton, Parktown North, and Rosebank are home to a host of mixed-use developments and it’s easy to see why. These commercial-come-residential buildings offer a host of benefits to both the owner and its tenants, combining affordability, proximity, and walkability with the prospect of quality tenants and a flurry of steady income streams. When executed correctly, mixed-use developments are designed to not only incorporate various types of real estate, but to complement them.


Marketing Manager at Galetti

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