Why Are Mixed-Use Developments Becoming More Popular in the UK?

Published by Aedifice Partnership on 27th November 2020 -


Mixed-use developments have existed for a while now, but in recent times they have become more popular with property developers. Across the UK, we’re seeing buildings spring up where apartments are nested on a complex of shops, restaurants and leisure spaces. But why are these buildings so popular now?

Use of space

One of the key drivers behind the increase in multi-purpose developments is using space more effectively. Horizontal, multi-use developments may retain some of the benefits of their vertical counterparts – such as the combination of living, leisure and work – but they require a large amount of land to implement. By putting modern apartments on top of retail spaces, developers can fit more units on a smaller piece of land. 

These vertical developments are particularly suitable for inner-city living; land rent prices in city centres are very high, so by building these upright complexes of convenience, leisure and living, developers can keep costs down.


The convenience of having so many amenities in such close proximity benefits everybody. While it may seem like multiple businesses in the same complex would be locked in a permanent state of competition, the fact is that they can all thrive in the same space as residents flit between the various eateries, shops and leisure spaces. By housing these in the same building, each space can benefit from the footfall generated by the other. Cafés can draw in customers as they step out of their favourite retailer and vice versa, for example. 

Sustainability and green living

With these tall buildings, there is potential to make use of sustainable features and techniques. Some developers have experimented with wind turbines on the roof of multi-use developments to help power the facility in a ‘green’ way, and there’s potential for roof gardens to be used for residents to grow their own fruit and vegetables if they so desire. As sustainability and our impact on the environment receives ever-increasing focus, developers are placing more importance on eco-friendliness in their projects.

It’s thought that more and more young people want to live in urban areas where their favourite shops, cafes and bars are within walking distance. With mixed-use developments, this ‘walkability’ means that there’s less need for cars, helping to create a greener living situation for those who reside in the community. 


Another advantage of such properties is that they’re almost always in use in one way or another. You can have residents relaxing in their homes whilst residents/non-residents alike mix in the retail and leisure spaces below – this constant buzz of activity serves as a great advert for the area and the development itself, attracting potential buyers amongst those who want to live in a thriving metropolitan space. Popular mixed-use developments will also attract attention from businesses that want a piece of the action, which of course means further investment. 

Example: Liverpool Waters

Liverpool Waters is a fine example of a modern, multi-use development. Being built upon a 60-hectare space on Liverpool’s iconic Northern docks, the development will consist of five different ‘neighbourhoods’, each offering its own unique sense of community, appealing to the different needs and priorities of potential residents. 

One of the more expansive examples of multi-use developments, it offers unrivalled proximity to the city and the project combines modern homes with 315,000 square metres of business space. Restaurants, hotels, gyms and leisure facilities will be on residents’ doorsteps, with plenty of communal space for them to socialise, exercise and enjoy being part of the most modern of living arrangements.

Whether it’s a retail and residential complex in a single development or a sprawling community, mixed-use developments are set to become more and more popular as the need for modern, eco-friendly, community-based living increases. 


Sally Wooton

Aedifice Partnership are professional, independent chartered surveyors and property consultants based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

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