Designing Large Retail and Commercial Centres

Designing Large Retail and Commercial Centres

Retail and Commercial Centres development



Successful modern retail centres are rarely developed without thorough planning, good design and rigorous economic study behind them. 

It is a standard professional practice in Australia to analyse all aspects of development prior to designing the subject site. Prior to embarking on the preparation of architectural projects for the development, Urban Design and Economic Due Diligence should be performed to establish the most profitable outcomes for the local area. 

Many shopping centres throughout Asia that failed to deliver expected client visitation numbers and profitability targets lacked thorough research in the Due Diligence stage. The widespread success of Australian retail development projects demonstrates the value of rigorous Due Diligence, and thorough Urban Design processes.

Our urban design approach draws from 20 years’ experience in assessing and strategizing potential development sites while creating the best economic and developmental fit for the area. 

As a result of this industry experience, we created “Bulky goods design guidelines” that have been adopted by the Victorian Government. The Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development uses these Guidelines to advise investors, designers, planners, Local Governments and future developers on effective urban design for large format retail premises throughout Victoria. 

Urban design principals 

Some principals that we apply when studying the locality are:

Retail development principles 

 Ancillary Urban Design principles 

Encourage environmental sustainability

Property Advisory & Due Diligence

 The role of an economist in designing successful retail centres is to provide measurable parameters of economic drivers in the interest of the client and successful project development.

 An economic Due Diligence review will support a project’s economic feasibility in the context of a broader market. By examining business risk, market research, retail supply and customer demand our experts can assess a project’s economic feasibility and financial risk, helping the client to make strategic decisions based on professional, impartial assessment.

 Our property economist experts will carry out an economic Due Diligence review by:

 Benefits of Economic Due Diligence for Retail Developments

Rigorous economic due diligence and market feasibility provides significant value for retail development projects, in the form of quantifying the specific monetary value of the investment opportunity for retail development, within a given catchment. This reduces risk for the investment decision, and provides clarity for the future viability of the development.

Property Advisory & Due Diligence

Case Study: Latrobe City Council, Bulky Goods Retail Sustainability Assessment

This is a proven methodology, as used in the Latrobe Bulky Good Retail Sustainability Assessment and Site Selection Report. Latrobe City Council commissioned a study to undertake a bulky goods retail needs assessment within Moe, Morwell and Traralgon. This assessment included the identification of appropriate sites for bulky goods retail development within Latrobe City Council.

Benefits of rigorous economic Due Diligence:

Development responds to market demand:

Informed investment decision making:

Mitigate risks of under-performing centres:


Risks of failure to engage rigorous economic Due Diligence:

Excess demand for shopping centres leads to:

Excess supply of shopping centres leads to:

Financial viability jeopardised:


 To get further support on this subject please contact:

Mecene for details on urban design support here

Sam Qualtrough, Principal, Q Insight for economic analysis support here







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