MacroPlan retail series: Integrated and mixed use development trend

It can be argued that the retail environment is changing at faster pace than ever before.  The implications to physical property will be very significant. Over the next few months, MacroPlan will unpack five key trends that will impact the future of the retail property sector.

Trend one: Integrated and mixed use developments

Across Australia, we expect to see significant growth in the Integrated Developments space, where traditional retail co-locates with commercial and other non-retail usages such as entertainment and hotel premises, often now in larger precincts. This growth will be driven by;

  • growing pressures for resource efficiency, especially land as well as the synergies of co-location on energy and water consumption.
  • amenity, and the need to offer a range of demand drivers to add to the overall appeal
  • capitalising on the maximum number of customer segments and promoting all day/night trade
  • re-purposing of less than optimal retail space such as department stores and discount department stores

There are more and more examples now in Australia such as Eastland Shopping Centre in Melbourne and Chadstone. Canberra’s Majura Park, next to the airport, is another good example.

On a smaller scale, the recent residential boom has been the catalyst for many mixed use developments in dense, metropolitan suburbs. Often under residential towers, developers have built retail areas on the ground floor of their sites, often to satisfy DA requirements. However, the market has witnessed many poorly conceived and delivered retail areas that seem almost an ‘after thought’, and which are incongruous with the development itself and add little or nothing to the community amenity.

One of the clear oversights we have seen is the lack of insight from established retail architects. The residential architect has designed a basic retail space, often with poor access and exposure, or little or no back of house or operational amenities, to facilitate retail. When presented to the market for lease or sale, retailers are often reluctant to commit to the space given their limitations. We are therefore seeing poor operators, offering poor quality retail with basic fitouts.

Upfront planning of the retail space needs to be given far greater consideration for the sake of both the developer and the local area. There can often be a knock on effect to any local dedicated retail precincts and it also promotes over supply.


Warwick Turpin General Manager - Retail