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Repurposing sports stadiums into friction-free workspaces

Our working lives are at a point of inexorable change. Traditional work patterns and boundaries are now being replaced with flexible, collaborative environments as we bring together human ingenuity and technology to empower digital workers. A “friction-free workspace experience” is new and holds weight as the workplace concept for the future.

The term refers to physical environments, procedures, policies and practices, free of unnecessary effort, undue stress and bottlenecks. This applies to everything from less time in traffic and thus shorter distances to your chosen work spot for the day, via having meeting rooms, chill out spaces, cafés and printing options all within easy reach, to experiencing great hospitality and inspiring exchanges at the workplace.

As technology has evolved, companies worldwide have shifted over to a hybrid platform as the pandemic compelled us to change how and where we typically work. “Employees now have the freedom to work from anywhere”, but they need a friction-free, inspiring workspace that allows for meaningful interactions with others.

Adaptive reuse of precincts and stadiums has been around for several development waves but the pandemic has shaken up real estate. Cape Town is seeing a spurt of innovation as developers convert big, empty sports stadia into friction-free workspace and mixed use environments. This urban trend is spreading into the southern suburbs, where the Newlands Cricket Ground development is a one of its kind.

“We feel privileged to have been invited by the developers of the Newlands Cricket Ground, Edudev and Heico, to create a Workshop17, in partnership with the co-owners: Western Province Cricket Association and Sanlam.” said Paul Keursten, co-founder and CEO of Workshop17, that is looking to grow in residential nodes. “The new Newlands co-working space will provide southern suburbs residents the option of working nearer to home or at other Workshop17 locations that serve communities. Essentially, it offers companies of any size the option of vacating existing offices or reducing the size, opting for these flexible locations”.

The introduction of office, entertainment and retail activity will not compromise the key role of the property as an international cricket venue.

Workshop17 Newlands offers 60 dedicated office spaces, available on both long and short-term lease memberships, and is located on the second and third floors with panoramic views of the entire cricket field from its floor-to-ceiling glass windows. In addition, there are five meeting rooms, two consultation rooms, six call booths, and a mix of hot desks and lounges for visitors to enjoy. All venues are equipped with screens, projectors, high speed unlimited wireless internet and audio.

Located near major main roads, public transportation routes, and a pedestrian bridge that leads to Josephine Mill and Dean Street restaurants, the property also boasts over 800 parking spaces, the new cricket museum, old brewery, cafes and restaurants will open soon.

The precinct combines its rich heritage and the latest developments with a number of financial institutions, law firms, entrepreneurs, tech companies and institutions of higher learning.Repurposing iconic precincts such as the Newlands cricket grounds and using offices for teamwork and innovation are among the latest trends which have emerged during the post-pandemic era.

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