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Global Architecture & Masterplanning

Adapting to New Realities

Retail real estate has undergone a tremendous evolution in recent years as the wants and needs of customers have undergone major changes. These views are now being reflected in the design and masterplanning of upcoming and recently completed global projects and over the next few pages we will take a look at a selection of schemes from around the world.

At its base level, a masterplan should take the best of the environment it will be integrated into and enhance, support and resolve the challenges that currently exist there. The masterplan can be as small or as large in scale as it needs to be in order to address the particular issues at play and can apply to both rural and urban settings, this is the view of Base Architecture from their blog ‘An Introduction to Master Planning’.

The article goes on to say that there are three main types of masterplan, development led, landscape led and socially led. Development led focusses on the creation of new commercial/residential spaces; landscape led provides improved biodiversity/habitat, creating new parkland and open spaces (for example by repairing and restoring former open-cast mining areas) and socially led creates entirely new settlements through urban regeneration that targets areas experiencing deprivation.

Meanwhile architecture, in an overall sense, includes key planning. From its origination, business proprietors, draftsmen and development management should cooperate to find a strong undertaking that accommodates everybody’s standards. While it might appear to be a given to put thought behind the planning process, some don’t understand how accommodating the craft of masterplanning can be to any given venture.

The biggest advantage of using good masterplans is improved communication. Because masterplanning is the initial step in the design phase, it outlines the entire scope of the project under consideration. Therefore, the lead architect works with the rest of the team, which means one thing – it greatly improves communication skills and project development success as a whole, explains DBF in their article ‘Master Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide’.

Global Projects

Set to open next year, The Buckingham is the first condominium to be constructed as part of the Grand Central Mimic District – a transformational project in South Etobicoke’s Mimico Triangle in Toronto, Canada. This master-planned, transit-oriented community by developer Vandyk Properties and architect Kohn Partnership Architects comprises over two million square feet of mixed-use development spanning four city blocks and anchored by over 1.85 million square feet of residential living. Made up of 751 condominium units, approximately 20,000sq ft of retail space, 30,000sq ft of office space, an urban grocery store and restaurants, The Buckingham features three towers, each with a private entrance and a secure lobby for residents and their guests. Grand Central Mimico is planned to become a vibrant, all-inclusive and future-proof neighbourhood located in the Mimico Triangle in South Etobicoke. The area, which is recognised as a priority “Regeneration Area” by the City of Toronto, is strategically positioned close to many of Toronto’s major arterials including the Gardiner Expressway, The Queensway and Lakeshore Boulevard.

Serving as a bespoke and captivating cultural destination for Vancouver, Oakridge Park is designed to seamlessly encompass every aspect of people’s lives – where living, working and playing converge harmoniously, offering a space for inspiration, personal growth and relaxation. Spanning over five million square feet and strategically designed around a sprawling nine-acre park, Oakridge Park creates a distinctive enclave within the expansive 28-acre footprint. A monumental redevelopment project that stands out as one of Metro Vancouver’s largest undertakings and ranking among the most significant ongoing transformations in North America, is poised to become an unparalleled addition to the city unlike anything Vancouver has ever seen. Comprising residential, retail, office, public realm, civic and cultural components, Oakridge Park, a joint venture by developers Westbank and Quadreal Property Group, with design and masterplanning work by Henriques Partners Architects, is a world-class, masterplanned community. Once fully completed in 2025, it will offer a top-tier retail experience totalling 850,000sq ft with over 140 leading global brands, including flagship and boutiques stores, accommodations for over 6,000 residents through more than 3,000 residences, 700,000sq ft of meticulously designed office space for over 3,000 creative economy professionals, one of Vancouver’s largest community centres and busiest libraries, six dynamic indoor and outdoor live-music venues, the renowned Goh Ballet and it will be home to the second Time Out Market in Canada.

Perfectly situated between the Atlanta metro area and North Georgia’s scenic mountains, Forsyth County has undergone rapid change – seeing a population spike of 132 per cent from 2000 to 2019. Once a sleepy rural county, the area is exploding with development, most recently with the announcement of The Gathering at South Forsyth, a $2bn entertainment district, designed and master planned by NELSON Worldwide that will bring world-class events, shopping and dining to the area in a 100-acre mixed use development. With a completion date set in 2033, the development will include 2,400 residential units, 500 hotel rooms and 1.6 million square feet of office and retail space. An 18,500-seat arena that could be used to entice a major league hockey team to the metro Atlanta area is also planned. In addition to the hotel, office and retail space, The Gathering will feature curated open community greenspaces, water features, walking trails and a state-of-the-art arena and community centre in the heart of the district. The development team includes Vernon Krause, President & CEO of Krause Auto Group and development owner and Frank Ferrara, Senior Project Executive, who is overseeing the development of The Gathering at South Forsyth.

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Huafa Snow World, a 131ha sport and entertainment destination in Shenzhen, China, designed by architecture firm, 10 Design is slated to open in 2025. The development is anchored by an 80,000sq m indoor ski resort, currently expected to be the largest of its kind in the world when it opens. Huafa Snow World will have a balance of retail, entertainment, commercial, hospitality, civic and cultural elements with the aim of creating a new and vibrant destination. The development will also include a JW Marriott Hotel with a range of facilities, including a ballroom with panoramic views of the ski slope. The design will revolve around the theme of snow, with ceramic boards and aluminium panels representing glaciers and ice crystals. According to the studio, the development will have an “urban green axis” stretching the site from north to south, providing public space with a connection to nature. The site will be divided into three main clusters – an entertainment area on the western side, a culture and civic area that is integrated with the green axis and a retail area designed to connect with the neighbouring buildings.

Under construction by Sun Hung Kai Properties and with architecture and design work from Lead8, ITC Shanghai is a high-profile, mixed-use destination being developed within the well-known Xujiahui district. Currently one of the largest sites under development in Shanghai’s city centre, the mega integrated scheme combines four plots of land and will total 700,000sq m of development when completed this year. The project will include grade-A offices, a premium retail mall and a luxury hotel, all with direct access to the Xujiahui metro station where three lines converge. The future-looking design of this neighbourhood-scale scheme aims to seamlessly integrate into the already bustling shopping and entertainment quarter. The design concept physically stitches the new development with the surrounding local sites to set a new precedent for the district.

The Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) is a vibrant, experience-led lifestyle destination that is seamlessly integrated with a

10-acre activated public park. Set to be the new lifestyle epicentre of Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, The Exchange TRX will offer socially immersive experiences encompassing events, entertainment, arts and culture, sports and leisure and over 430 lifestyle, dining, concept stores and new-to-market brands. Designed as ‘a lifestyle precinct in the park’, The Exchange TRX by developer Lendlease and architect Leonard Design Architects sits at the heart of a 17-acre retail-led mixed-use development located in Malaysia’s first international financial district. The Exchange TRX is known as a lifestyle precinct that encompasses retail, Malaysia’s first Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants that is connected to the TRX City Park, six premier residential towers, a low-rise large floor plate campus-style office and a dedicated Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) station. The entire development is expected to be completed in stages from 2023 –2027, with the retail component opened late last year.

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Planning approval has been granted for Brookfield Riverside – a major mixed use new town centre, retail, leisure and housing development for the Borough of Broxbourne. The Borough of Broxbourne and Hertfordshire County Council, together with their development partners Sovereign Centros and Peveril Securities, have received planning approval for the €580M Brookfield Riverside development, part of the wider Brookfield masterplan including a new Garden Village, at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Seen as a significant future economic generator for the region, the new town centre and garden village will deliver the 335,000sq m mixed-use town centre development and 1,500 residential dwellings including 1,250 homes and 250 apartments, as well as parking for 2,000 vehicles. Brookfield Garden Village will also provide a primary school, neighbourhood centre and other council facilities needed in the area. The development, which features architectural work from Lyons Sleeman Hoare, will also see improved road and junction infrastructure, with new cycling and pedestrian links to connect to Cheshunt and the works are expected to complete in 2025.

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Lamda Development has revealed its plans for Riviera Galleria and Commercial Hub retail destinations at The Ellinikon, Greece’s and Europe’s greatest urban regeneration project that is being built on the former Athens airport. Adjacent to central Athens, the nearby Piraeus Port and the International Airport, The Ellinikon is unique in Europe for its location, its size — three times larger than Monaco — as well as its scale and ambition. The Ellinikon will set new benchmarks for the future of Mediterranean coastal development — for integrated, sustainable living; for iconic placemaking; for smart-infrastructure; and for its broad base of business potential, from tourism to innovative commercial properties to ground-breaking destination retail. A collection of several communities will be home to thousands, supported by essential services available to all – such as education and healthcare. This groundbreaking development is on course to open in 2026 and architectural work is being completed by Foster + Partners.

Bahrain Marina Development Company has announced that work has started on its $525M mixed-use project located on Manama’s eastern coastal strip. Spread over a 256,000sq m area, the Bahrain Marina project will offer a unique blend of living, shopping, scenic beaches and diverse water sports activities. It will boast a total of 274 residential units as well as 192 retail outlets in addition to a 68,637sq m hotel that will have 304 rooms. The Bahrain Marina masterplan was designed by Benoy, a global leader in architecture and master planning. The project is aimed at fortifying the tourism sector, aligning with the overarching goals of the national tourism strategy and asserting its stature as a global tourism hub. It augments tourism’s contribution to the domestic economy said Najibi, adding these concluded agreements signify a pivotal commencement for project construction. The marina will have 1,769 underground parking spaces along with 235 berths for yachts and boats.

Currently under construction, The Island by developer Wasl with architectural work being undertaken by Brewer Smith Brewer Group, is a luxury beachfront development that will include over 1,400 hotel rooms, suites and apartments featuring the popular Las Vegas hotel brands MGM, Bellagio and Aria; retail and multiple dining options; and a number of entertainment destinations. The Island will also include an extended beachfront with cafés, restaurants, retail stores and family entertainment. Three of the most well-known hotels in Las Vegas – the MGM, Bellagio and Aria – will be part of the project, which was expected at one point to be home to the first casino in the UAE. There is currently no opening date scheduled for the project.

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Riyadh’s Sports Boulevard megaproject aims to transform the Saudi capital into a top global destination by creating a 135km green pathway with facilities for 50 different sports and more. The project is well underway with the goal of transforming the Saudi capital into one of the world’s most liveable cities, according to exclusive details shared by Jayne McGivern, CEO of the developer Sports Boulevard Foundation (SBF). The Riyadh Sports Boulevard will include the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road and stretch from Wadi Hanifah in the West with Wadi Al Sulai in the East when complete, connecting the entire city through a series of green pathways for cycling, walking, horse riding and various sporting activities once complete. Construction is moving ahead on schedule with the first phase set to open to the public later this year, McGivern said. When finished by 2029, the project, which will feature architectural and masterplanning work by Coen + Partners, will have created over 4.4 million square meters of new green spaces and planted more than 170,000 trees. Residents and visitors will be able to enjoy world-class facilities for 50 different sports.