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Repurposing Offices

How Global Cities Are Repurposing Office Space

To some, the sight of empty offices all over the world is potentially terrifying. It could mean that everyone is working from home (best case), or (worst case) – the company has closed down.

We’re still going to find out just how much of our commercial landscapes have been forever changed over the coming months. Still, in the meantime, some entrepreneurially minded developers see opportunities that may just throw a lifeline to vast, costly and now deserted office spaces.

“If we climb high enough, we will reach a height from which tragedy ceases to look tragic.” – Irvin D. Yalom.

That quote should be by one of the leading psychiatrists that the United States has ever birthed because in today’s climate – specifically the property climate, we’re sure that there are some building owners and developers who may well be needing the help of a professional.

But, as always, where there is a tragedy for some, there is innovation for others; from London to Johannesburg, a potential global meltdown of the commercial property market may, if not have been totally avoided, at the vest least mitigated somewhat by a few brilliant, very sharp individuals.

LONDON’S LIVE/WORK SHARED SPACE

The City of London has recently announced that it will be repurposing dozens of office blocks as living spaces in an attempt to stave off a potential commercial property bust.

This solution is going to have many benefits for previously exclusive commercial spaces. For one, there is now a generous supply of semi-affordable living spaces in central London, addressing what was already a very pressing need. With the influx of new residents into local economies, we can expect to see growth in retail and lifestyle spaces, causing an unexpected boom to those industries. We also hope to see some areas of the city experiencing something of a “gentrification.” As the property market continues to find new ways to respond to the evolving pandemic and how it’s changed the flow and location of humanity in urban spaces, there may be exciting times ahead.

JOHANNESBURG TURNS A LARGE OFFICE BLOCK INTO FLATS

What was recently the headquarters of PWC in South Africa is now home to 200 people, and the giant 30 000m2 of space is preparing to welcome another 500.

This complex is known as “The Apollo.” which offers affordable accommodation in one of the countries vital economic centres. Units come as studios or bachelor pads and increase to two-bedroom units prepacked with fast wifi, meeting spaces and secure “estate” style living in Johannesburg.

These are just two examples of how the world responds to the pandemic and uses the lessons that we’ve learned to make the best of potentially dire situations. These conversions are seeing a rise in employment for contractors and construction companies and all the industries and services required to pull off a housing development. Plumbers, glaziers (someone has to check if you need a Glass Scratch Remover.) It’s proof that even in our darkest moments, the sparks of human innovation can ignite opportunity.

So if you’re an entrepreneur that’s having to restart or you’re an investor that doesn’t know what to do next, we hope you draw some inspiration from these two examples. 

They’re only two examples of many more stories like these, and hopefully, they won’t be the last.

 

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