South African shopping centres will slowly start to ditch their massive parking garages

Anyone familiar with the retail shopping experience in South Africa will know the nightmare of the shopping parkade.

As more shopping centres spring up around the country however, developers are starting to question the feasibility of these structures – especially because of the costs and space that they take up.

Speaking to BusinessTech, Sean Paul executive director of Spire Property Management explained that while the shift is still along way away, its an issue that is increasingly being considered -especially in the country’s dense urban areas.

“We have been involved in developing in dense residential nodes for a number of years, and these types of shopping centres are already quite restrictive,” he said.

“We were recently involved in the development of the Cape Quarter lifestyle village in Green Point, and because of the logistics involved we had to go six or seven levels down to provide a hundred parking spaces. It’s something that is very expensive and very difficult to do,” he said.

However, despite the expenses and time involved, Paul believes that a greater push could come from an increasing demand that shopping centres and developments are ‘green-certified’.

“When you think of a building that has been awarded green certification you think of it as a building that is only energy efficient.

“However accessibility to public transport and self-propelled transport such as bicycles are also a major consideration before receiving your certification,” he said.

Again, Paul said that this shift to green developments will be expensive, and he noted that there will always be space for self-driving customers – but he highlighted that this is something that more tenants are actively calling for.

“Parking at the moment is not unviable, and you can still make a fair amount of money from the people that pay, but its something that will  become more unsustainable and unnecessary as new infrastructure is developed,” he said.

“Bicycles, buses and Uber will ultimately be the primary mode of transport when visiting shopping centres in South Africa – as is the case internationally.

“How long it takes I don’t know, but that is definitely the direction we are heading in.”

Read: Online shopping drone deliveries could hit SA by 2021: expert

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South African shopping centres will slowly start to ditch their massive parking garages