Mixed-Use Development: No Longer Just A Trend

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It’s official: homebuyers are increasingly comfortable passing on larger living spaces, when stacked up against urban conveniences (according to a recent report by PwC and ULI). Looking at the report, entitled Emerging Trends In Real Estate, it’s easy to see how/why mixed-use development is becoming the norm – it’s blurring industry lines as commercial and residential developers discover the opportunities that mixed-use properties bring. The desire of tenants to be able to live, work, and play in an urban location is driving further demand for projects that could offer residential, retail and office space all in one convenient location.

This isn’t a new concept. In major global markets such as Asia, you have second and third floor retails. To put it simply, this type of building is just a better use of density. It creates complete communities that offer more options – which also happens to be a direct aim of Ontario’s Growth Plan.

There are a few of our current clients that are attempting to speak to this growing trend, while addressing the concerns of homebuyers who may otherwise not be drawn to rural/suburban living – namely due to long commute times. Queensville, which is poised to become a 6000 home community, will be a place where families can live and work. This is the same for New Seaton (in North Pickering), which will become home to more than 20,000 residents and developer Sifton, who is going to be introducing a new smart community in London (Ontario). All three of these communities will include mixed-use development ranging from office spaces, restaurants and different classes of residential living spaces – communities within communities.

What was once emerging is now a norm, with our population growing (rapidly) and developers looking for ways to attract homebuyers in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The needs/wants of homebuyers are shaping and challenging development, and it’s intriguing to see how the challenges are met.

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