MIXING IT UP

Oman 2017 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | FOCUS: MIXED USE

The use of mixed-use buildings in Muscat is on the rise to the benefit of local commercial activity.

As the construction sector progresses in Oman, designating the use of building structures for more than one purpose has reached a significantly higher level of popularity than in the past. The advent of these mixed-use properties came to Oman as the need for quality offices and residential spaces met with a continually expanding populace, which needs places to comfortably work and live. Touting the term “mixed-use" when announcing a new, cutting-edge construction development has now become à la mode around Muscat. Common manifestations of mixed-use buildings include the merging of residential and business properties, mixing commercial and business properties, or even all three.

With a view to fill the lack of high-quality office space in Muscat, local construction firm Gulf Muscat United is constructing three iTower complexes, which are set to create a new standard in advanced office space. The iTower structures are also redefining environmental responsibility through their innovative measures aimed at maximizing energy efficiency through sophisticated technology that uses cost-effective and specialized light building materials that are more energy efficient and insulating. These towers will be located in key high activity areas around Muscat. In addition to offering more than 70 high-end business offices in the first iTower, the structure will also include an extensive assortment of retail shops and restaurants. Thus, while the vision behind these new towers is to provide more high-quality business office space in Muscat, they also made it a point to include a retail zone as well as many different restaurant options within the building plans—seamlessly merging office spaces with commercial entities. Al Madina Real Estate also foresaw this trend when it first made the decision to place high-quality office spaces and residential units within an unlikely place; the Muscat Grand Mall. This impressive building is the epitome of mixed-use, with over 140 shopping outlets and hundreds of apartment options, including hotel apartments, in addition to its top-of-the-line Tilal office spaces, which house some of the most well-known companies in Oman.

The economics behind mixed-use properties is alluring to developers because of the fact that two (or three) merging uses often combine to create favorable business conditions that support both sides. Simply put, it is a smart and efficient way to create economic activity. Buildings that have more than 50 business offices available inside can translate into a fair amount of employees coming in and out of the doors each day. A number of these employees will leave the office for lunch, so by offering an array of restaurants, cafés, and shops within the actual building, they will capitalize on the potential of the workers in the attached offices as their consumers. Especially the case in today's fast-paced business world, convenience is the name of the game and mixed-use buildings have emerged as a logical extension of concentrating businesses where both demand and availability are prized.