The changing face of neighbourhood activity centres

Published on: 17 December 2020

Commercial agent Burgess Rawson predicts a boon in neighbourhood activity centres’ popularity with a shift to local shopping convenience during COVID-19.

Burgess Rawson Director David Mark said not only did ‘working from home’ measures see more people turning to their neighbourhood activity centres for everyday conveniences, there has been strong innovation in planning and designing centres for the future.

“The local shops have always been a focal point for communities. A place to meet, shop and tick the daily essentials off the list,” said Mr Mark.” And while this premise hasn’t changed, the ‘local shops’ of today look quite different.”

Neighbourhood activity centres are designed to accommodate the changing needs and demographics of its local community. Typically, this includes a supermarket anchor with 10-20 speciality stores.

“The days of a greengrocer, butcher and a chemist are over,” said Mr Mark. “We are now seeing a more diverse mix of stores and services such as swimming schools, gymnasiums, health food, medical services and speciality stores such as Indian and Asian grocers. Outdoor dining precincts are also in demand as families look to stay closer to home.”

Burgess Rawson is Victoria’s market leader in project leasing, with a dominance in the neighbourhood activity centre sector.

Recent leasing projects include eight developments throughout the west, north and south east growth corridors, including Clarinda Village, Roxy Central, Tribeca Village and Maddingley Village.

“The team has been responsible for a total of 30,000 square metres of leasing with plenty more in the pipeline,” said Mr Mark.

Mr Mark added that increasingly, Burgess Rawson is brought into the design process early to work with architects and developers to create the best centre for its local community.

“Our market knowledge provides critical insights into tenant mix so architects can design to suit,” said Mr Mark. “In doing so, we can start conversations with tenants much earlier in the process and find that as the design meets their specific needs, we have the best chance of securing pre-commitments. This enables the centres to be delivered as soon as possible, which is a win for everyone.”

Looking ahead, Burgess Rawson has leasing arrangements with more than nine new neighbourhood activity centres in the pipeline, across the Geelong, west, north and north-west growth corridors.

“We are gearing up for a big 2021,” said Mr Mark.

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