The new retail mix - Can you be original?

Joao Cepeda, President and Creative Director, Time Out Market

“We use editorial curation. The knowledge of our Time Out journalists, critics and reviewers is the key for our main decisions and to evaluate the right mix for each one of our projects. Apart from that, we try to design places that are true platforms. Adaptable and changeable sites, totally open to the never-ending rotation of trends. The more we are true to this process and velocity, the less we have to worry about copycat projects or even boring contexts.”

Myf Ryan, Strategic Marketing, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

We are actively pursuing a densification strategy of our assets and decide on the right mix of use for each location. Our decision is informed by the consumer. We are forensic in understanding our consumer needs today and in the future with research linked to all stages of development.”

“Retail remains key, but our strategy is to increase the densification of our destinations, with plans to boost the mixed-use nature of our portfolio by adding offices, residential, hotels and other mixed-use projects, where relevant.”

“At a group level, our €10.3bn pipeline is well positioned for a mixed-use future, now with 50% of the GLA in retail and the rest in dining & leisure, offices, residential, and hotels. Our focus on mixed-use development has been a long-term business strategy as evidenced by the nature of our flagship destinations globally such as Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City with a mix of retail, dining, leisure, residential, offices and hotels.”

Lorraine Dieulot, Real Estate Director, Saguez & Partners

“There is no one transversal recipe for every mixed-use. That would be a mistake! A mixed-use building in Saint-Ouen can’t be the same as the one in Berlin or Milan. Saguez and Partners is working at a pan-European level and each time, the knowledge and understanding of the local’s needs, way of living and expectations is key to establish the right mix and programme. We are convinced that the content is more important than the container and so the designer and architect aim is to enhance a tailor-made programme thanks to a well-thought layout and volume.”

Milen Gentchev, Global Operations Director, Ingka Centres

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. There is no formula that says, for example, 30% retail, 20% leisure, 25% residential etc, that can be applied to multiple locations. As owners and developers, we constantly need to ask what the local demographic wants or lacks, what will make peoples’ lives better?”

We are constantly analysing today’s and future needs of the community, and anticipating how the local eco-system will evolve in a foreseeable period. How tourism will reshape the area. What is the demographic profiling of the area today and tomorrow? What changes will happen in urban development? All these questions are important to understand who the end-user of the place will be. If we are asking these questions, mixed-use projects should always be different, because different communities need different things. It sounds simple, but if the surrounding area is populated with young families, it could make sense to incorporate kids’ edutainment. If there is a higher proportion of millennials, flexible workspace may be a better use. We work with local organisations, authorities, brands and people to co-create destinations. Researching local demographics and stakeholder requirements is key to our first city centre ‘meeting places’ for Europe, Asia, North America and Oceania. This is part of our €5.8bn investment programme to transform our business. We hold what we call ‘Meeting Place Making’ workshops with a wide range of stakeholders. The focus groups guide us in creating innovative, localised destinations. They include a deep analysis of the surrounding environment, with a ‘create’ session to define unique offerings. The goal is to get everybody visualising how the destination will look and feedback. Finally, we calculate the value the destination will add for customers, co-workers and the community.”

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Nabil Slitine, Chairman & CEO, M Avenue

“The mixed-use project is a concept that has been well established in locations around the world. Our criteria however for selecting such projects is whether we are able to offer hospitality and branded residential components, which are our core speciality. In addition, our focus has been on sites that are located in the heart of city downtowns in order to revive the city centres. Other components depend on the market needs, whether it is an educational, cultural, wellbeing, business centres or retail components. I should also specify that we are operating in African destinations which are not yet familiar with the mixed-use projects.”

Olivier Bossard, Group Chief Development Officer, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

“Our core belief is that mixed-use development should have a strong local anchorage to be relevant. The approach must differ depending on regions and people’s needs.”

“In countries where there are no city centres as such, our centres are increasingly hosting services such as doctor’s offices, leisure and sports. In others, we are moving towards mixed-uses including a share of offices or co-working spaces, hotels or housing. Many of our centres were built on the outskirts but have gradually been integrated into the city through urbanisation. In Hamburg, in a space gained on the port, next to the Philharmonic, we are creating a whole district with a cruise terminal, hotels, shops, offices and housing. In London we build hotels and apartment buildings next to our centres. In Paris, Les Ateliers Gaite will be a real Parisian district, with a shopping centre (including a large fresh Food offer), housing, Paris’ largest second hotel by capacity, a nursery, a library, etc.”

Morgane SCOARNEC, Leasing Director, EuropaCity

We have developed a unique approach, based on a changed paradigm: we are no longer a retail developer, adding a few leisure or F&B experiences to drive footfall and spend, but a tourist destination developer, placing three anchors at the heart of our programme: leisure, culture, a food hall and urban farming.
Therefore, our programme now reflects this leisure and culture resort strategy, with 65% of the area dedicated to leisure, culture and hotels, 20-25% to urban park and urban farming, with only 10-15% dedicated to retail, which will be fully integrated. EuropaCity is due to open in 2027. By then, everything will have changed and evolved.”

“But we believe that the way to keep up-to-date is to co-create the destination with best-in-class industry partners, as they’re the ones who know how each sector will evolve and they’ll anticipate changes in concept and facility design. And also with the local community and stakeholders.”

“We also believe that for innovation to emerge, we need to get the destination purpose and its fundamentals right. Our philosophy is to provide a triple positive impact: on the local economy, with €900m injected locally and a contribution to enhancing tourism in Paris; on community, with 10,000 jobs to be created; and on our planet, as EuropaCity will be carbon neutral and use 100% renewable energies. We strongly believe that the circular economy is becoming mandatory: fresh food in short circuits, repair and recycling workshops, second hand, rental in retail, etc as awareness of these issues grows, but there is a need to educate guests at a large scale to reduce the footprint of their consumption.”


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About Author

Mark Faithfull is Editor of the MAPIC Preview and News Magazines, as well as Editor of online publication and analysis specialist Retail Property Analyst.

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