Developers Are Betting on Live-Work-Play Communities To Attract New Tenants

Live-work-play communities aren’t exactly a new concept, but with the rise of remote and hybrid work, there’s a newfound interest in live-work-play communities.  

This article was originally published by Allwork.Space.

Live-work-play communities aren’t exactly a new concept – they were formerly known as mixed-use developments. The concept is rooted in the idea that people are happier living in communities that provide for most of their needs.

In a survey of workers by IWG, 77% of respondents said a place to work closer to home would be necessary for their next job move. 83% of consumers are willing to trade in unit-square space for amenities and communal spaces that offer a built-in community.

What are live-work-play communities?

This type of community is a development that has a variety of housing, is close to local companies where the community works, and provides recreational outlets for eating and entertainment.

A closely related idea to live-work-play communities is the 15-minute city, which is the concept that cities should have car-free access to basic necessities like healthcare, food, schools, and employment within 15 minutes of where people live, either on foot or by bicycle.

Within this idea, the city is decentralized and becomes a conglomerate of villages, each with its own car-free green spaces, homes, mixed-use spaces, and flexible workplaces.

The future of how we work and how that relates to our lives is evolving rapidly, and many new concepts may come to fruition in the not-so-distant future.

Some live-work-play communities are already here

The Connell Company has reinvested $400 million into The Park to transform it into a live-work-play campus.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, The Park was a 185-acre corporate office complex, but it is now being repurposed.

The Park will no longer be just a place people go to work; it will be a place in which to meet with friends or family, work out, or go to wellness checkups.

Once the redevelopment is complete, The Park will offer flexible workspace, residential space, dining options, fitness amenities, and healthcare to its tenants.

Similar work-live-play concepts are being launched across the country. Irvine Spectrum has developed Discovery Park which spans nearly two million square feet.

Somerset Development reimagined the historic Bell Labs building into a “metroburb” called Bell Works.

Like The Park, both Discovery Park and Bell Works will foster and create environments that will help professionals integrate their work and personal lives.

Arlington based company AvalonBay, which owns the Avalon Willoughby Square and AVA DoBro project in downtown Brooklyn, has developed an entirely new subway entrance within the four corners of the property so that residents can access the five New York City subway lines that converge there.

This has made the building attractive to today’s urban professionals – whether they want to work where they live or commute to where they work.

Nancy J. Ruddy, founding principal of NYC–based design firm CetraRuddy, (which designed the space) has said that having that kind of informal, yet work-oriented functionality is key in development today.

“The ability to be alone together, in a space where you can read or work in an exciting atmosphere, is critical,” she said.

What are the benefits of live-work-play communities?

  • Convenience: These communities eliminate long commutes and the hassle of driving into town to run errands/work/seek entertainment.
  • Improved health: Less driving means more walking for a healthier lifestyle and less pollution (transportation accounts for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.).
  • More time with family: Shorter commutes mean more time at home with family and friends.
  • Flexible working: Remote and hybrid working allow for people to work from wherever they want, which is what 72% of surveyed workers prefer.

The argument for live-work-play communities

  • Commuting could become obsolete. Remote employees save an average of 40 minutes daily by not commuting.
  • Working from home is possible for a majority of workers. During the pandemic, close to 70% of full-time workers were working from home.
  • Productivity is boosted when people can work from home/remotely. 94% of surveyed employers stated the work productivity was the same or higher since employees started working from home.

Those who choose to live in live-work-play communities could be more productive because they have no commute, more time for family, more exercise, a higher quality of life, and better overall work-life balance.

Some developments like Avalon in Alpharetta, GA even offer monthly events and a childcare space within walking distance – which makes the community truly a self-contained living environment.

Examples across the country and the world are showing that living, working, socializing, and entertaining locally has multiple benefits, which is true in both large cities and lower density areas.

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