Infill makes business cents

So we have been looking at examples of infill and the benefits its holds for small businesses and in particular service and retail.

This is especially so when we consider the increasing level of negativity that we are seeing in some Councils towards infill, as a result of resident’s action.

With the increasing proposals for density, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of action groups forming who are active, co-ordinated and aware of the approvals system ( While small in number, the fact that they are active, in comparison to the silent majority, means that they have had some sway with planning outcomes.

While examples in Australia were scarce, we did come across some great case studies in the USA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) which demonstrated the following:

  1. A national analysis of office and retail properties found that on a 100 point scale, a 10 point increase in walkability was associated with a 9% increase in market value and a 7% higher net operating income.*
  2. A study that classified 66 places within the Washington DC metro region found that a 19 point increase in walkability (out of 94 possible points) was associated with an 80% increase in retail sales and a nearly $7 per square foot increase in retail rents.**
  3. Walkable places clustered near others in larger walkable districts performed better than more isolated walkable places. Gross retail rents in walkable districts were nearly 50% higher and retail sales were nearly 125% greater.***
  4. In Livermore California, a $12.5 million streetscape project converted a four lane highway to a two lane pedestrian orientated main street.  In the three years following completion of the project, downtown retail sales grew 15%.****

For smaller inner city centres such as Subiaco, it is quite evident that there is a need to generate a sense of activity and vibrancy to compete against upmarket retail centres such as Karrinyup.

With the loss of the Domain Stadium, Subiaco retail in particular, will experience a significant impact with the absence of this regular influx of visitors.

As a retail business there are a number of ways you can increase revenue, such as:

  • Increase your prices
  • Reduce your costs
  • Increase the number of people who visit your outlet

It just makes sense (cents) to us at PropertyESP, that by having an increase in population, you can provide a more consistent income base, especially when you see from our other research, that infill also tends to attract professionals with higher disposable income.

We have summarised this data into a strategy for the Property Council (as Samantha is Chair of the Infill Committee) and on that basis we are hoping to activate the business community to now start becoming vocal about the benefits of infill.

I hope that you will also join us in this worthy cause!

* Gary Pivo and Jeffrey D. Fisher, “The walkability premium in commercial real estate investments” Real Estate Economics: 1 MAR 2011

** Leinberger and Alfonzo

*** Leinberger and Alfonzo

**** Dono Andrea L “Livermore California: celebrating wine country” Main Street story of the week. National Trust for historic preservation 2009.

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PropertyESP is a group of property experts – analysts, marketers, PR people, sales experts – who understand Australia’s obsession with property and love to share that knowledge. At PropertyESP, we appreciate property and exploring what is being sold and how that is changing over time. We like to get behind the trends to see what people are buying and selling at the local level. We share our knowledge with our clients so they can make informed decisions when developing, buying and selling property. We believe that better understanding leads to better decision-making.

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