Last week, the Nickerson team attended NEREJ’s Live, Work, Play Development Summit, which examined the trends and challenges of mixed-use development throughout Boston. Leading industry experts, including Lauren Jezienicki of Bozzuto, Ryan Leeming of New England Development, Michael Boujoulian of Alliance Residential, John Sullivan of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes and our very own Lisa Nickerson, gathered to discuss the unique considerations involved in creating a successful destination environment.
Mixed-use components present many benefits in development as these serve as added amenities for the building, as well as neighborhood overall. However, we learned that live, work, play is not a one-size-fits-all opportunity. It is equally important that a developer crafts the right balance between retail, residential, office, etc. to ideally meet the needs of the neighborhood and the end user.
Lauren Jezienicki of Bozzuto, Ryan Leeming of New England Development, Michael Boujoulian of Alliance Residential, and John Sullivan of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes
The hot button topic of the morning was transportation, as it always is when talking about new development. Panelists noted that the key factor for a mixed-use property developer is to provide options when it comes to transportation. You need parking, bike spaces, public transportation, easy access to the highways, the ability to order an Uber or Lyft and, most importantly, access to shops, restaurants and entertainment. Transportation is an important aspect of mixed-used development, but as we learned, the convenience of amenities surrounding transportation is equally important.
The panel also discussed the fact that, although the industry doesn’t build differently from the way we did 30 years ago, the mix of product is changing. Take for example big box retail. Today, residents aren’t necessarily getting into their car to go to a supermarket or department store, they are presented with other options that are more convenient, making some big box retail store out of date and, in some cases, unsustainable. When considering the design of mixed-use properties developers are taking this into account and incorporating variety to ensure a healthy mix of opportunities for dinning, name-brand stores, as well as local retailers are included.
With Boston’s ongoing evolution as a world-class destination, both panelists and attendees remain bullish that our region will continue to offer ideal opportunities to create premier live, work, play environments.