Afternoon espresso and recyclable bags in hand, I strolled past happy Kiwis on lawn-strewn bean bags toward a Farmer’s Market brimming with locally grown treats. The pop-up radio station sent music through the air, bouncing off the skyscraper walls and down into the adjacent metro station.
The year was 2011, and I was walking through Britomart in my then-home of Auckland, New Zealand. The once-lackluster downtown was quickly becoming a vibrant community I was proud to call home.
It’s no secret that mixed-use developments are a trend. But changing economic factors, consumer demand and population movement (among other concerns) will mean some will succeed where others fail. Here are a few I believe will have staying power in the years to come:
Where: Miami, FL
Standout Feature: Convenient Transportation
Scheduled Completion Date: Fall 2016
Why it Will Succeed: Ahh, Miami … the international city where palm-tree-lined boulevards meet late-night salsa dancing. Ranked the 7th global city according to Knight Frank’s World Wealth Report, Miami attracts those with a flexible wallet for work and play. Between the Miami River and Biscayne Bay, Brickell City Center is walking distance from both waterfronts, rests between two freeways, and is the primary avenue to the popular shores of South Beach.
Perhaps the greatest feature of Brickell is the Metromover light rail that runs directly through it. In a 2011 survey, 41 percent of commuters worldwide reported that public transportation would eliminate stress. For those employed at Brickell City Center, the way of the future has arrived. Eliminating car traffic, more pedestrians can hop on the line and within minutes, step out into the eleven acres of shops, restaurants, residences and entertainment venues. Also, afternoon strolls are that much easier thanks to the elevated walkways that connect each portion of the development.
Where: Newport Beach, CA
Standout Feature: A Wellness Community
Scheduled Completion Date: Summer 2016
Why it Will Succeed: The best mixed-use developments provide a sense of connectedness, both on an architecture-meets-landscape level and on a personal level. That sense of connectedness is much of the reason why I moved back to Newport Beach four years ago. Through my youth, the Newport Peninsula was an area full of untapped potential, sandy beach bars and old salt-worn cottages. I can’t help but take pride in the changes the area is undergoing, including the redevelopment of Lido Marina Village and the Lido House Hotel.
This beachy, laid back luxe environment along the marina, once completed, will house boutique retail, fine dining, and creative office space. With good coffee, waterfront restaurants like Nobu and long-running establishments like 3rd-generation owned and operated William & Harold Jewelers, this is a place I like to be.
Where: Honolulu, HI
Standout Feature: Access + Style
Scheduled Completion Date: Fall 2017
Why it Will Succeed: It’s no secret that a large motivator behind mixed-use design is access: being able to get to your favorite destinations quickly, easily and often without a car. The best rated WalkUPs in Boston, for example, were all shown to offer high levels of accessibility. But a private elevator dropping straight down into your favorite shopping destination? Well, that’s novel indeed. It will be a reality at Park Lane Ala Moana, the collection of luxury residences and penthouses connected to world-class shopping destination Ala Moana Center, and across from the city’s iconic Ala Moana Beach Park.
This mixed-use development community, also within walking distance of many office buildings, parks and the beach, provides an easy lifestyle for graceful living in the cosmopolitan city of Honolulu. According to a 2016 Mercer Report ranking the top quality of living around the world, Honolulu was ranked one of the highest in America. With a walkable community like Park Lane Ala Moana in the heart of Oahu, it’s easy to see why.
Where: Manhattan, NY
Standout Feature: A ‘Built-In’ Population
Scheduled Completion Date: 2024
Why It Will Succeed: The success of mixed-use developments hinges, in part, on sufficient population density, so why not build a colossal mixed-use community in the most populous city in America? Hudson Yards will redefine the New York skyline and cater to the many that like to spend quality time in Manhattan. From an observation deck the height of the Empire State Building to more than 100 shops and 4,000 residences, Hudson Yards will attract flocks of New Yorkers and visitors alike.
The development plans include exquisite restaurants curated by renowned chef Thomas Keller, a public school, art center and Equinox-branded hotel. Three new parks will converge at Hudson Yards, supplying plentiful green space amidst the skyscrapers. People can also commute to the location via a new mass transit addition: the No. 7 subway extension. With a city that already reached its 2020 population forecast by 2015, there’s no lack of demand for a self-contained city-among-cities such as this.
By the time of its completion, Hudson Yards will welcome 125,000 people per day who will either work, visit, or reside there. As the largest private development project in the nation’s history, the $20 billion project spanning 13 years in progress is estimated to contribute nearly the same amount annually to the city’s gross domestic product. That’s what I call a good investment.