I read ‘Business News Australia’ on 5 March with great interest. One article in particular stated that “Convenience culture is set to shift the current shopping centre mix”. The article identified that neighbourhood centres are relatively insulated from the overarching threat of e-commerce, and that the centres of the future will increasingly be blended with other types of property.
It is predicted that mixed-use developments (containing retail) will exceed those built as free standing assets for the first time from 2020.
Whilst the article is from an ‘Australian perspective’, and discusses a market that is subtly different from ours; the article reaffirmed a number of components that I feel have been trending for a while now. These are as follows:
- Supermarkets are sensitive to online/e-commerce sales. All of the new Zealand supermarkets have been developing Omni channel models and investing in their customers in store experience. The RCG designed Farro Fresh is a good example of this...
- They will be an important part of our neighbourhood centres, but only if they keep in the game. This is important as they “set the tone” qualitatively and, more practically, they drive foot traffic and thereby support rents in the other tenants. These new incarnations of the convenience based supermarket will lead the way.
- Entertainment precincts are alive and well in the ‘Hood.’ This is common for regional centres who have established these as key components, but not all Food & Beverage clusters can deliver. To be credible, more is needed. For example, boutique cinemas help establish these as genuine community meeting places, which increase dwell time and visitation.
- In that respect some “new wave” Food & Beverage operations such as “Ozone” successfully drive this community theme on their own, but if a cinema is on site then this supports the offerings of more traditional F&B brands; Of course the feasibility and rental mix still needs careful management.
The RCG designed Excelsa Village Centre in Blue Havens development at Golden Sands East of Mount Maunganui, is a good current example of a lifestyle/neighbourhood centre.
While that is all good, I must warn about being too enthusiastic, proceed with caution! The Auckland unitary plan; for instance, doesn’t really support this flexible mixed-use, self-sustaining, multi-centre view of the city. It supports a traditional “hierarchical” city with most functions ideally around one central “high street” area, then things may cascade down to regions and neighbourhoods, etc. Supermarkets and cinemas are restricted to the higher levels of the hierarchy. This restricts the acceptable uses available to your centre. But with the right design and development team these opportunities should still be achievable!
After all, it’s a good accessible community outcome and that's what Council’s want – isn’t it?
The Rise - Titirangi
Something exciting is about to unfold in Titirangi....
We are working with Broadway Property Group to create 'The Rise' - a modern retail and workplace asset in the heart of the village.
The space will offer customers, and workers, with a variety of food and beverage options as well as attractive retail outlets, nestled amongst the beautiful green surroundings.
The scale, forms and textures are drawn from the surrounding landscape, to make for what will be an attractive addition to the village. It will be an incredible place to work, or a great place to visit for a coffee to meet with friends.
Watch this space!