A one-stop precinct; the rise in popularity for mixed-use developments in Australia

We all look for convenience when searching for a place to live. Being close to shops for those evenings when you have nothing for dinner, public transport to avoid those long hikes in the hot summer morning, and work to get home sooner and spend more time in the evenings with the family.

This is the appeal of mixed-use developments. These unique precinct communities combine commercial lots with retail and leisure; a ‘one-stop-shop’ where everything is accessible for your everyday life.

For developers, it is an opportunity to create communities throughout these spaces, enticing residents to the development and ultimately lowering the risk of low sales purchases. Before we jump into the full potential of these precincts, let’s explore what mixed-use developments are, and it’s growing trend in Australia.

Developing a community

Australia’s urban density is growing. To meet the needs of residents, developers are designing communities that centralise services – prioritising convenience to residents.

The Sydney Morning Herald published an article in October 2018 on the rise of mixed-used developments in the Sydney CBD. The Herald stated that this growth is on the back of increased level of interest from purchasers who are seeking CBD office, hotel and student accommodation sites.

And this growth has also been evidenced across the rest of Australia. With higher property prices, developers and their projects need to increase their flexibility and potential to compete in the market; retail and commercial lots need to be embedded in master plans.

(Market Hall Rotterdam is a global example of mixed-use developments)

It’s all about balance

According to Colliers International, one of the risks associated with mixed-use sites is a sectoral imbalance between residential and commercial applications. This can include shortcomings of developers such as failing to include the retail component in the precinct or duplicating the retail services already present in the area.

Likewise, there might just not be enough demand to justify the retail component; arising through slow property sales and minimal occupation. But the retail imbalance might only be one aspect to shortcomings for these developments.

Ensuring there are schools, public transport and road infrastructure are just some of the many features of a community that needs to be considered in development. Without these services, the risk grows for the developer as residents consider such features when purchasing apartments.

Shortcomings can be prevented with the right planning, research of current demographics and amenities in that location, and awareness of the development process.

The same balance a developer juggles is also required from the internet provider, who will be expected to be able to handle not only the residents’ internet needs, but also have the appropriate technology and infrastructure to run wireless internet across all areas of a mixed-use site.

(Barangaroo South by Lendlease was awarded by the Property Council of Australia the 2018 Liberty Award for Best Mixed-use Development)

Choosing a mixed-use network provider

When it comes to mixed-use developments, having a ‘one-stop-shop’ network provider is only sensible to suit the ‘one-stop-shop’ precinct.

For instance, a mixed-use development may have residential buildings, a hotel, commercial spaces, retail spaces and public areas. Having a network provider that is able to deliver its service to all of these components is crucial.

VostroNet provides a 10Gbps connection to a mixed-use precinct, a fibre-to-premises (FTTP) solution to the residential lots and a Wi-Fi mesh to retail lots, common areas and public spaces.

Its Q2 software platform ensures residents and guests are able to move around the precinct and remain connected to the network. VostroNet has shaped its network solutions to meet the needs of active users, connecting them at every step.

What’s the take-away?

For developers, mixed-use developments can be a challenge.

Yet a development that is inclusive of retail and residential (sometimes even commercial) appears to be increasingly likely to be approved over traditional single-use developments, with more human-centric city planning being emphasised.

But with these large multi-use developments, it’s important to choose auxiliary services such as the internet, that are not able to manage the demands of the precinct, but also offer value-adding control monitoring for management.

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