Mixing residential and commercial for development success

Nuno Mendez of the Chiltern Firehouse, spoke at the Financial Times conference earlier this year on how a destination restaurant can have a positive effect on a neighborhood. Property developers are now focusing their efforts on finding the next celebrity chefs to open restaurants in their developments. East London is now one of the most exciting areas in Europe for food, culture and fun. This is all good news and could be a recipe for success for developers but mixing commercial, retail and residential needs careful planning at the outset, according to Lee Baron the property management experts.
Star architects and urban designers are the celebrities on which property developers rely on to create urban schemes full of restaurants, retail and commercial. To live near a pub or restaurant, a selection of shops and close to transport links is a Londoner’s dream however this is only possible if the poor relation of the development world, the property managers, are taken on board at the start of the scheme to ensure that the debris of urban living does not spoil the dream.
The well documented case on the issues around the Ministry of Sound, the former Mayor Boris Johnson and the regeneration of Elephant and Castle demonstrates that, not only  is there a need for new homes but the respect of the existing neighbours needs to be taken into consideration. Factoring in shops, supermarkets and restaurants into the mixed use
developments with the wrong covenants can lead to tenant issues over the late night revelers, smells, early deliveries and worst of all the collection of refuse.
When creating new homes on large mixed use super-sized schemes and smaller tighter developments in areas with existing well-loved businesses, it is the groundwork at the very beginning, which considers and reduces the impact, often with a development saving costs in the long term. Leaving property management to the last minute in these days of social media can lead to increased costs and reputational damage to a company and the product they are producing and selling. Internet savvy protest groups can drum up media campaigns using social media to great effect as seen recently in Hackney, Tower Hamlets.
Ian Jones, Chief Operating Officer of Lee Baron commented:

We recommend bringing in the managing agents to the scheme as early as possible. They need to be part of the development and design team working alongside other professionals in delivering a development which meets all stakeholders needs. At a major site in West London, Lee Baron were called in before the development had started and issues which often high on the agenda, such as restaurant waste mangement are resolved from the very beginning before they become a problem.

Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s are to be commended for their plans to build above supermarkets. Whilst the idea of living on top of the supermarket on the face of it is a good idea to increase the supply of new homes, unless property management is considered from the beginning it can lead to negative consequences. The idea of the convenience of popping down the get a loaf of bread can descend into a major inconvenience when at 3.00a.m. residents are awakened with the bleeping of the bread delivery or the rumble of the refuse truck. Assuming this will be a problem, there is already a website dedicated to living above supermarkets. This is just one of a myriad of issues which a good property manager will consider and solve for their clients.
Tricia Topping, Director at Carlyle Consultants on behalf of Lee Baron


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