by Brent Maugel
There is a growing synergy in the trend for multi-family housing and the retail market. From Milleniums to Baby Boomers, residents want immediate and convenient access to restaurants, stores, and health care facilities. The extreme traffic congestion of the Greater Boston area has many people transitioning from traditional living and shopping standards to live-work-play environments.
Gone are the days of wanting to drive long distances to conveniences and services. The latest trend in retail design is toward a Marketplace concept. The Marketplace concept features a variety of styles and amenities, such as ample outdoor dining areas, attractive and vibrant pedestrian environments, and creative softscape and hardscape elements.
As proponents of sustainable design, we are excited to see people embrace walking and biking to shop, to work, and to play. More importantly, the commercial real estate industry is responding to public demands. As designers, we now have opportunities to create retail and mixed-use environments that abandon strip mall aesthetics and favor individuality and corporate branding. The result is an exciting new dynamic in the retail experience.
This new market dynamic is driving wider distribution of convenient entertainment and shopping experiences. A good example of the live-work-play trend is Burlington, Mass. Maugel Architects is currently working on four new retail projects in Burlington: King’s Bowl in Northwest Park, Rebecca’s Café at New England Executive Park, Starbucks Plaza on Middlesex Turnpike, and The Shops at Mall Road. Grocery stores are also jumping into the live-work-play mix. Wegman’s, in the midst of Nordblom’s Northwest Park, is nearing completion and employees in the park are excited to have amenities, new restaurants, and entertainment all within walking distance.
Brent Maugel is the president of Maugel Architects