Kiyoko Fujimura
Buzzbuzzhome Corp.
April 28, 2010

I lived above a nail salon in Chinatown while going to U of T a couple years ago.  And while it was certainly an interesting experience, I wouldn’t say living above a store is ideal.  Okay, so maybe you’re imagining bug infestations and a general state of disrepair and you’re thinking “Really?  That’s the new thing?”  But that’s not quite what I mean.

What I’m talking about is developments like the Manulife Centre– with stores at the bottom and condos above. Essentially, I’m talking about mixed-use developments.

And why not?  For residents, it’s pretty awesome when you can put on your slippers, take an elevator ride downstairs and do your grocery shopping.  And for retailers, it’s pretty wicked to have such a captive market.  It would also be horrifically expensive, and likely unfeasible, for a retailer to afford giant standalone space in the downtown core.

Okay, so far it’s just a win, win situation.  Where does the third win come from?  Developers!  Retail space can be worth double what residential space is.  And retail space tends to be on the lower floors where no one would want to live anyway.  WIN!

One drawback: some residents may not like customers milling about in the lower levels of their home.  But Alex Manefski, an associate director with Altus Group who has put together a report on the mixed-use development trend, said:

“People who move downtown are not too concerned with having a lot of people around”  Financial Post 

 I agree…who cares if you have people downstairs?  If it means you can do your groceries without leaving the building it sounds worth it.  I’ll bet this is one trend we’ll see more of–there doesn’t seem to be a downside!  And that’s unique in the development world.

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