Mixed-Use: The Future of Shopping Centres

Mixed-use developments are bringing something different to the shopping centre market – particularly schemes with a residential offering. Shopping centres are increasingly becoming community hubs, bringing everything that people need including housing, shopping, leisure and workspace all in one place.

Mixed use shopping centres are bringing a new kind of architecture, something more attractive than the old brutalist shopping centres from the 50s, 60s and 70s. The new era of innovative designs is impacting cityscapes drastically – Edinburgh St James and Milburngate are perfect examples of this.

Along with new developments being aesthetically pleasing, it’s the variety and depth of the offering mixed-use schemes deliver which is driving tenant leases, visitor footfall and impressive dwell time. With technology giving individuals the power to shop, work and order food at home, it’s becoming harder for landlords to lease space and for retailers to entice footfall. Mixed use is the answer. Mixed-use schemes – if designed well – offer convenience, memorable experiences, entertainment and culture to visitors; provide a real competitive differentiator for tenants, and significantly raise the value of an asset for landlords.

The key to shopping centres survival is to transform into a mixed-use scheme. Mixed-use schemes create an urban economy, a buzz of activity, employment opportunities and vibrant, lifestyle destinations which attract crowds of people. Landlords need to gain a strong understanding of the local community’s needs, the current residential, leisure and retail offerings in the area and strategise regeneration projects. Combining retail, residential, leisure and office can drastically increase the value of a property, increase investment interest as well as developing the economy of the local area.

Savills has recently secured planning permission for a major mixed-use development project in Glasgow. The scheme will deliver 250,000 sq. ft of distribution, industrial, commercial, storage, retail and hospitality space, with the objective to transform Queenslie Park. The development has a gross value of £25m, clearly showing the belief that a mixed-use scheme can drive value to an area. Savills Associate Ruth Highgate said “The combination of its location on the M8 east of Glasgow, and the exciting opportunities that can be delivered through this planning consent will really put Queenslie on the map. This is a significant prospect for both the city of Glasgow and the community living and working in and around Queenslie.”

The job of managing mixed-use developments offers an exciting challenge to aspiring and ambitious individuals. The schemes have a diverse mix of occupiers to answer to and work with, deliver the task of creating a wide range of campaigns and the responsibility of building a community; connecting like-minded people through events and services that go beyond online platforms. On top of this, developers have a much wider pool of considerations when designing a property for such a diverse tenant mix such as entrances, affordability, accessibility, facilities and building management requirements and much more.

Shopping centres are not in ‘crisis’ as some popular media sources are reporting. They are adapting to the changing needs of a new generation, evolving the offering and meeting new expectations. The title ‘shopping centres’ is becoming a historic term, they have been reinvented into mixed-use, lifestyle destinations where people can live, shop and work all under one roof.

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