Living above the store
All-in-one projects with retail, residential and office components are attracting attention. But not everyone is onboard
VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 12:00AM EST Last updated on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 12:23PM EST
In Vancouver, the Shaw Tower has divided a tower on the waterfront edge of the central business district with Triple A office space on the bottom and high-end condos on top. The city's Woodward's project near the Downtown Eastside combines condos, social housing, space for non-profits and city offices, a grocery store, a drugstore and Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts, with its multitude of performance spaces.
But even enthusiasts such as Mr. Klein say that challenges come with building mixed-use projects. Often developers dive into them when they know how to do only one part well - the offices, the condos or the retail - but they add on the others, thinking they'll be easy gravy. It turns out they aren't.
Some uses just don't work together, with restaurants being especially problematic because of their smells, waste and noise issues.
Or developers don't think about timing problems and they end up with different groups of users clashing as one tries to leave while the other is arriving.
What does work best is when developers create multiple uses that appeal to a similar demographic.