Balancing work leisure culture in commercial space
CategoriesPress Coverage

In a world which is increasingly being recognised by the convenience factor – from e-commerce to mobility and travel to quick and easy meals, consumers are choosing products and solutions which save them time. The Indian real estate sector hasn’t remained untouched with this evolving trend where consumers are demanding services that are available at an arm’s length and the world at a click. This is leading to the emergence of mixed use properties and particularly in commercial real estate, where office-cum-retail spaces are becoming increasingly popular to cater to the nuanced requirements of today’s  evolving workforce.

This coincides perfectly with the occupiers intent to offer a dynamic workplace to its employees which offers the best of work and leisure through means such as food and beverage outlets, gyms and a place to celebrate occasions and milestones. According to international property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle, India’s office markets had a record 2023, [1] [2] with leasing activity in the year surging to 63 million square feet, breaking all previous records with the second half of the year being especially strong[3] [4] . This strong demand for commercial spaces is driving the demand for mixed use properties as occupiers, homebuyers and developers look to fulfil their evolving needs through concepts such as office-cum -retail, office-cum-residential[5]  and residential-cum-retail etc.

The Pandemic Effect

While mixed use properties were already being developed across the top eight cities, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated its development as occupiers looked for ways to bring employees back to the workplace and developers aimed at constructing assets which can tide over market shocks. Office-cum-retail establishments enable occupiers to attract and retain talents owing to their multitude of offerings and giving the experience of working in a special economic zone or a large technology park.

Furthermore, it enables employees to avail a range of services at one single location and in a seamless manner, thereby enabling them to fulfil their requirements. This becomes a win-win situation for the occupiers, retailers and developers where the former two are able to quickly avail services, cater to a dedicated daily flow of customers and strike a perfect balance between occupier satisfaction and robust business development. Similarly, projects that combine residential and retail real estate tend to offer employees quick access to work and home, thereby enabling them to maintain work-life balance by saving on travel time.

Good for Business

Over the last two decades, the Indian real estate industry had to face several market shocks and adjustments including the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, demonetisation, lack of materials, rising input costs, real estate regulatory authority (RERA), the Goods and Services Tax and the COVID-19 pandemic. This drove the industry towards developing more mixed-use properties to de-risk assets while bringing newer avenues of revenues.

Unlike built-to-suit commercial properties where the developer doesn’t have to look for tenants, a usual project development demands the right set of tenants which can occupy the space for a longer tenure.

This also leads to higher churn in occupiers in tandem with the evolving market and therefore, having a mix of office-cum-retail establishment helps shield the project from uncertainties. While mixed-use properties started in the large metros, it is increasingly finding takers in tier-2,3 cities where developers in both organised and unorganised sectors are resorting to this method to attract occupiers.

Over the next decade as we witness an increasing migration of people from rural to urban and rising purchasing power of individuals, combining convenience, work and leisure will unlock million-dollar opportunities for the real estate sector. Here, developers with a proven track record in identifying the right land parcels and selecting suitable tenants will play a pivotal role in ensuring the commercial success of the project. This necessitates the need for understanding the finer aspects of an employee’s workplace need and marrying it with their leisure requirements to offer a seamless work-leisure experience to them.


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