6 Design Fundamentals When Planning Neighbourhood Retail Centres

Well planned urban and retail designs should enhance a community’s quality of life. It’s essential to think through how retail centres connect to the customers while balancing a design that also satisfies the developer and tenants.

Here’s our “must have” checklist when considering initial retail concepts:

1. Pedestrian connectivity between the major tenants and the specialty shops is paramount. Designs must minimise the ‘dead retail space’ and maximise the specialty retail in close proximity to the mouth of majors tenants.

2. Controlled environments, malls and spaces that offer protection and designated ‘holding zones’ for people to “meet and greet” are crucial. Thoughtful design creates centres with points of difference and offer more than just a retail outing thus becoming a destination of choice.

3. Ant tracks from car parking, via specialty shops to major tenants creates a stimulating journey. It encourages the community’s ability to take ownership and pride in a vibrant centre that has essentially evolved from paddocks and rural land.

4. The direct view lines of the major tenants from the centre’s main entrances defines the simple mind map of a centre. We must remember that “convenience based shopping” is still king with neighbourhood shopping centres.

5. Architecture that ties the community to the development is essential and each centre needs to be relevant to the local context that it is to embed it’s self into.

6. Building design must consider the reduction of the outgoings of any new centre. It is a major player in the viability and financial success of a centre over the journey from a developer’s perspective, and for future centre owners.

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Brian Jende, Managing Director