Mixed-Use Developments for Eat, Work, Rest and Play

Our job as food consultants has completed transformed from what it was 30 years ago. We are no longer masterplanning traditional food precincts marked with a ‘food court’ sign but working on creating places out of spaces including high street shopping strips, purpose-built laneways, urban markets, cafe courts and business hubs servicing hundreds of workers. One area we are seeing major developments in, an area of our work that definitely did not exist 30 years ago, is mixed-used developments - the modern solution to living, working and playing in the one place. 

Pentridge, a mixed-use development in Coburg, Melbourne ( image via Colliers International )

Pentridge, a mixed-use development in Coburg, Melbourne (image via Colliers International)

What is a mixed-use development? 

According to the Harvard School of Design, mixed-use is defined as one building having at least three uses with no one component making up more then 60% of the entire building. This can include a number of combinations including components such as retail, living, hotels, office space, green space and accommodation. Whilst they are a newer concept in Australia, many countries including the U.S have harnessed this type of development as more people move into the cities and urban communities grow. 


Why is the mixed-use development becoming so popular? 

Real estate experts around the globe are seeing a number of key reasons that are consistent around the world as to why the growth in the mixed-use development is occurring. 

  • People are migrating to the city from suburbs, towns and villages. We need space for these people without losing out on the ability to service them. 
  • Buildings are fundamentally being used in a different way to what they were fifty years ago. It’s not just about the solid structure of a building but the way it makes people feel and the benefits it can bring. 
  • The internet has led people to desire social connectedness beyond what they get from being online. Mixed-use developments provide space for interaction whether it’s planned or unintentional. 
  • The younger generations want to be in the city, close to work and friends. The traditional goal of a single-fronted home on a lot of land is no longer what a large proportion of the population are looking for. 


What makes a successful mixed-use development? 

It all comes down to amenity and this includes what food, beverage and hospitality outlets are available to the people in the building or working and living nearby. Amenities such as hotel-style facilities, precinct programming and dog parks are all being planned into these developments in the design phase to aid in their appeal and make these spaces usable to the modern person. They provide services, foster social connectedness and meet the needs of the generation who desire to live and work in these spaces. 


The role of food and beverage in mixed-use developments

Food, beverage and hospitality plays a major role in these developments. With people craving real time social connection, a food and beverage precinct in a mixed-use development can be a hub where people can meet, sit and enjoy being around each other. As well as this, the people of today are choosing smaller spaces but with less space comes smaller kitchens leaving these people with little ability to cook for themselves. And a lot of them don’t want to. In this case, the food and beverage offer of a mixed-use development fast becomes a necessity as opposed to an optional extra and includes considerations for gourmet supermarkets offering ready-to-serve meals as well as popular food outlets. The food and beverage amenity can also transform if a clever food and beverage strategy is used. Mixed-use developments can bring in external customers from surrounding areas through implementing market programs, pop-ups, food van spaces and community events. This type of programming brings community together, offering people experiences and social flexibility but also boosts the value of the development as an asset and for business owners operating out of the space. 

Mixed-use developments are a way to satisfy the growing global trend of people wanting more from where they live, work and play. With food and beverage playing a major part in how people experience and use a space and its powerful ability to bring people together, we are excited to work on these projects and make a major impact on the quality of life of the people who live or work in them. 

Are you planning or part of a mixed-use development project and need expert advice on what a food and beverage offer can bring to it? Get in touch with our food consultants to talk more about how Future Food can help maximise the potential of your project. 


Credits - cover image of Pentridge, Coburg via Colliers International