IWG brand, Spaces has made a name for itself as a pioneer within mixed-use developments and shopping centres. Photo: File

DURBAN - IWG brand, Spaces has made a name for itself as a pioneer within mixed-use developments and shopping centres. 

In South Africa, its locations include the V&A Waterfront, Fourways Design Quarter, Menlyn Maine, Sandton City and Mall of Africa. A new trend in the flexible workspace realm is the conversion of retail spaces to chic co-working offices. The opportunities these sites present for developers, REIT’s and landlords could be significant.
Part of Spaces’ brand DNA is to find settings in desirable areas of a city that offer the right conditions for fostering a sense of community, and that blend seamlessly with tenants’ lifestyles.

"Typically, these locations are either located by convenient transportation hubs or have ample parking, which we know is incredibly important for business professionals," said  Joanne Bushell, Vice President of Sales for IWG in Africa. 

Bushell added, "Additionally, by integrating our co-working space with entertainment and retail, Spaces’ members are able to run their business, get their shopping done and find food options within walking distance". 

Having a range of resources within easy reach – shops, restaurants, entertainment facilities – is a magnet for new tenants. It helps them achieve a better work-life balance by saving time when it comes to ‘life admin’, be it buying dinner for the evening, servicing their technology or shopping for last-minute birthday gifts. 

The Waterfall land managed by Waterfall Management Company and home to Spaces Waterfall which opened last year, won the award for the ‘Best Mixed-Use Development in Africa’.

What’s more, according to Spaces, being based at the heart of an extra-curricular hub encourages members to bond with each other. By using and exploring these facilities together, tenants strengthen their relationships. This is in turn cultivates a stronger sense of community back in the shared workspace itself, which is a key pillar of the Spaces brand – and a major factor in tenants’ decision to choose a co-working space.

“Our goal is to create an environment that promotes collaboration and creativity,” says Bushell. “We’ve found that giving our members direct access to adjacent amenities like retail, entertainment and food locations, creates a strong community ‘feel’ as members move around the complex together.”

A recent survey revealed the daily commute as a massive barrier for employees, with 47% of South Africans surveyed saying that the daily commute is the part of their working day they like the least (40% worldwide). This, together with the need for affordable, safe housing near a place of work, hotels, schools and amenities promotes the need for mixed-use developments in urban areas. Melrose Arch is one example and currently you can live in Rosebank without owning a car.

Spaces is rapidly expanding its flexible workspace locations across the globe, with more than 100 co-working spaces worldwide, with several new outposts announced on a weekly basis and continues to explore the trend for setting up co-working offices within mixed-use and retail locations.