Fresh approach for new urbanism management

Posted On Friday, 22 February 2002 03:01 Published by
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Aim is to create healthy, appealing spaces for work and leisure
Aim is to create healthy, appealing spaces for work and leisure

THE concept of new urbanism, hailed as a fresh approach to urban living from both a town planning and architectural perspective, has far-reaching implications from a property management point of view.

New urbanism is a town planning approach in which a crucial objective is to create better, healthier and appealing spaces for work and leisure.

It is seen as a return to the idea of mixed-use towns, where people can live, shop, work and play.

Investec Property Group, managers of the Melrose Arch development in Illovo, Johannesburg, for the Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund, say new urbanism brings challenges that go beyond the scope of traditional property management and require a holistic and innovative approach.

Ronnie Sevitz, divisional head of property management of Investec Property Group, says the first challenge at Melrose Arch relates to the sheer size of the space under management.

The first phase consists of about 44000m² of office space and 8000m² of supporting retail, restaurant and entertainment space.

Melrose Arch has been designed with a central square, green lungs and boulevards, illustrating his point that property management is not limited to the buildings but includes public spaces and civic uses, says Sevitz.

In addition to the traditional property management team which is responsible for on-site letting, administration and back-up, the group has appointed two on-site specialists a precinct manager, whose responsibilities include the entire precinct and its public spaces, and a facilities manager, who will concentrate on the operation and maintenance of the telecommunications and information technology infrastructure, mechanical equipment such as air conditioning, and other technological features.

The on-site property management team receives support and strategic input from the group's head office.

Sevitz says a diversity of new land uses is being planned.

Negotiations are under way for a 117-room hotel. Construction of the residential apartments is expected to commence during the second half of this year.

To date, office space has been taken by Andersen, General Cologne Re Africa and the National Empowerment Fund.

A number of retailers and service providers have signed up for space.

Sevitz says the benchmark for the development will be the level of customer satisfaction.

Investec plans monthly roundtable discussions to track the success of the management there, while a similar system is to be put in place for residents once the apartments have been built and sold.

Plans for a property owners' association are well under way.

Investec Property Group's Farrel Osher says managing a 24-hour, mixed-use development takes a wide range of skills that call for a proactive approach.

A precinct integrated engineering centre has been designed to act as the heart of the precinct's management and control systems, with a strong emphasis on security.

The development is equipped with access control systems for both the precinct itself and the individual buildings.

More than 200 cameras will monitor the entire precinct through a control room manned 24 hours a day. Other functions include the management of fire alarms, street lights, lifts, climate control and the switchboard.

The development will also house a call centre to deal with tenants
Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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