The popularity of mixed-use developments

by Steve Van Derodar

Photo from AssetsAmerica.com via SV Derodar

Just as developments sprung everywhere, it is quite noticeable that many of these are what we call mixed-use developments. In today’s massive developments, it is understandable that they must complement various aspects of completing the residential community for projects to be successful. No wonder that mixed-use development is becoming more and more popular.

Although our familiarity with buildings is on a developer basis, we understand that most of them develop projects that truly characterize the mixed-use of properties. Its efficient use maximizes the potential of these spaces.

A recent Urban Land Institute’s case studies about mixed developments across the world opine that “Mixed-use development is an ever-evolving concept that shifts and morphs in response to trends in market demand, architecture and urban design, finance, and the changing nature of specific property types. For example, as market demand has grown for central-city locations, the mixed-use projects of today are more urban than those of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, especially in the United States. Of the nine case-study projects in this collection, only two are in a suburban location, while four are in a central business district and three are in another central city located outside the central business district.”

Mixed-use development is a type of urban development that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or industrial uses. Those functions are physically and functionally integrated and provide pedestrian connections. Mixed-use development promotes pedestrian activity, transit feasibility, multi-generational communities, and long-term sustainability. Mixed-use projects could include residential, office, retail, hotel, and parking use, among others.

It is refreshing to learn that certain areas in Metro Manila have been developed for mixed-use, such as the Shangri-la Rise Makati, an example of vertical mixed-use where it dedicates the first few floors to retail stores coffee shops, bars, groceries, and restaurants. The project has a 2-story mall on the ground and 2nd floors with over 51 restaurants and shops and more than 7,000 square meters of spaces and amenities.

“Mixed-use development is a type of urban development that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or industrial uses. Those functions are physically and functionally integrated and provide pedestrian connections.”

Arca South, for its part, is an example of mixed-use walkable areas designed to maximize the variety of transport options open to its residents. The 74-hectare development connects residential blocks, expansive green spaces, business areas with wide streets for vehicular traffic, and abundant walkways and paths for pedestrians. This specially designed mixed commercial and residential property connects with the South Luzon Expressway and the Skyway, providing seamless access with major highways. As such, traveling to and out of the city will be manageable — perhaps even enjoyable.

Vertis North is an example of horizontal mix use. It is Ayala Land’s first mixed-use development in Quezon City, envisioned as its new central business and lifestyle district. More than half the land area of Vertis North (60.6%) is allocated for commercial and office space. Residential developments by Avida and Alveo make up almost a quarter of the 29-hectare sprawl. Hotel, retail, hospital, school, and public facilities comprise the rest of Vertis North. Provides for a variety of complementary and integrated uses that are walkable and within a given development project

The Galleon is another example of vertical mixed-use development with two-tower, modern design catering to residences, offices, and retail products, a unique offering within the heart of Ortigas Center. It is currently one of the most sought-after preselling condos in the Ortigas and EDSA area. The development will feature a podium with 2 floors of high-end retail, 1 floor of green landscapes and amenities.

Mixed-used developments ensure community-focused, walkable environments that exude convenience. Whether vertical, horizontal, or mixed-use walkable areas, they truly provide convenience, functionality, and ease of access to core activities. Mixed-use development can either be a building combining different uses within the same building or single-use buildings within a mixed-use zoning district parcel, which allows for a range of land uses in a single development project. And yet, it could be a combination of both vertical and horizontal mix of uses in an area within an approximately 10-minute walking distance.

“Mixed-used developments ensure community-focused, walkable environments that exude convenience. Whether vertical, horizontal, or mixed-use walkable areas, they truly provide convenience, functionality, and ease of access to core activities.”

Interestingly, the popular forms of mixed-use developments either follows the Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) – typically short blocks and lined with sidewalks and landscaped yards where streets formed a grid punctuated by a square featuring residences along with a mix of service and commercial uses, the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)- occurs within a certain distance of a transit station (generally ½ mile is considered within walking distance) or Live-work. Live work is a unique form of a mixed-use development that allows people to reside and work in the same building.

The popularity of mixed-use development in the Philippines is evident in its demand as more and more housing units are created. Similarly, the creation of office and retail components depends also on the demography it caters to. Where housing concentrate, retail, parking, and commercial spaces follow. Obviously, for transportation hubs, retail provides abundant attraction to consumer traffic.

In Metro Manila alone, residential projects within a mall are pretty common, and understandably, they can be as prime as its developers. You can also find Luxury properties in high zonal values. Ever thought of being neighbors to 5-star hotels and posh malls? You can expect the type of properties that are offered due to their overall accessibility. And though your residential building doesn’t have to be mixed-use, you would benefit largely if you are near to it. Living in Legazpi Village was the most convenient situation I was in a while working in Makati Business District. I just had to walk going to work and even to Greenbelt for shopping, etc. I would walk going to Manila Peninsula, Shangri-la Makati, and The Renaissance Hotels for functions.

“Studies have it that a residential element in mixed development is critical to its overall success, supporting the activities within the complex and providing the round-the-clock vibrancy of the development and the community per se.”

It is definitely advantageous to be on a mixed development as much as possible or just being within the zone, allowing walkability and ease of access to commercial, retail, and office components. Studies have it that a residential element in mixed development is critical to its overall success, supporting the activities within the complex and providing the round-the-clock vibrancy of the development and the community per se.

A perfect way to picture it, mixed-use developments are no longer just about buildings but communities.


(Stevenson’sexperience in Philippine Real Estate spans more than 15 years. He has been involved in horizontal, vertical, vacation, and commercial properties. He has worked as an International Property Specialist to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America with Ayala Land, Federal Land, and Century Properties. ThroughPhil House Hunters, he offers real estate investment opportunities, marketing, and consultancy with a key focus on Metro Manila and Mega Cebu areas. Visit www.philhousehunters.com.Email at derodarsales@gmail.com.)

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