Mixed-use communities are an innovative development trend that combines urban elements like residential living, entertainment, dining and workspaces together in order to provide a holistic “one-stop shop” for visitors. Popping up in all types of locations from downtown high-rises to suburban sprawls, mixed-use developments may be the key to attracting and retaining, the Millennial market sector.
Yes, that’s right, this long-sought-after, ever-elusive target market may have actually found its match in mixed-use developments. The fact of the matter is Millennials, which currently make up 40% of the U.S. workforce and are on track to hit 75% by 2025, are changing and challenging industries. One thing is clear, industries are having to cater to the significant impact of those aged 18-30 both in the workplace and in the consumer marketplace.
More and more Millennials, as well as empty-nesters, desire to live in urban centers for its proximity to shopping and entertainment. However, there is only so much downtown real estate to go around. Enter: Mixed-use communities. By replicating the atmosphere supported by tight-knit urban culture in a cultivated environment, mixed-use developments are delivering the lifestyle aspects Millennials crave, in areas outside of the urban core, and at a relatively lower cost per amenity.
We are already seeing a significant shift across workplaces, housing and retail individually. For example, as consumer confidence in the economy has dwindled, young housing buyers are taking a more critical look at long-term mortgage commitment. This is driving Millennials to choose luxury rentals rather than property ownership. In order to accommodate this, mixed-use developments, have made luxury residential units an anchor in their communities. Furthermore, in retail, expansive use of omnichannel marketing extends the brand into the daily routine of Millennials and their expectations of lifestyle. In response to this generational shift, companies and brands are moving away from close-walled designs opting for environments that promote productivity, innovation and engagement with consumers. Workplaces are adapting to reflect the needs of the next generation of professionals. Younger audiences thrive on competition, not just collaboration. To support this, companies are quickly adapting their culture to expand office rapport outside of 9-5. They are also offering expanded amenities. Bike parking, healthy food options, and more natural light in the office are being used by companies to attract millennial talent.
Acting as prepackaged epicenters, developers are able to construct mixed-use developments to offer a live-work-play balance while also providing holistic experiences in a compact area. As the potential intersection of their workplace, residence, and entertainment, mixed-use communities are able to supply the next generation of professionals and shoppers with exactly what they want across multiple aspects of life.
As a highly-educated demographic group that is prized for their tech-savviness and understanding of consumer trends, Millennials appreciate the convenience that comes with developing mixed-use areas. The ability to have their workplace, home and entertainment within walking distance of each provides ease of access to the necessities that foster the engagement with both brands and people that younger generations have come to expect. The close proximity also lends to the elevated demand for green initiatives and money-saving tactics that are becoming increasingly important in Millennial ideology. Mixed-use developments’ walkability negates the need for a car, which in turn saves people money and decreases their overall carbon footprint. For many “green” conscientious individuals, the option to walk to work, then head over to do some shopping or dinner all without a car is worth a significant rent difference. With the added benefit of enhanced amenities that include exercise studios, workspaces, and concierge services within walking distance, younger generations are being drawn to these “mini-centers”. In fact, studies have shown that up to 62% of Millennials choose to live in these types of mixed-use communities.
Mixed-use properties, like Bluhawk in Overland Park, provide the illusion of secluded ecosystems while driving economic growth to the surrounding areas. Business and social experiences alike will be conducted at all points within the property as it will become more hyper-connected. Tenants, whether office, residential or retail, will not simply exist in a space, but complement each other while engaging the next generation of consumers. Communities like Bluhawk are creating a place where residents, tenants, and visitors will not just come and go, but gather, connect and thrive.