The Future of Mixed-use Development

Boundaries between live, work, and play are blurring. The desire to create dense, diverse, and flexible communities that integrate a variety of uses has revived mixed-use developments.

Prime location once defined coveted real estate. Today, amenities have become the new value creator. Developers are competing to win tenants by offering gold-star amenity packages, including sophisticated food and beverage packages, co-working space, and pet amenities. Developers understand that it is all about the experience.

Examples that exemplify this new-age of mixed use are The District Detroit in Detroit, MI and The District Wharf in Washington, DC.

Several developers believe mixed-use developers are generation agnostic, appealing both to millennials and baby boomers. In some markets, empty-nesters account for nearly 50% of the market. Additionally, designing for women is important as women account for 90% of home purchase decisions.

Critical components of a successful mixed-use development:

  • Hospitality focus (regardless of use)
  • Integration of quality finishes
  • Abundant Natural Light
  • Amazing share amenity space
  • On-site retail

Authentic, mixed-use developments must include at least three product types. Not one product type can make-up greater than 40% of the total.

Split uses allow the various uses to share parking costs and share costs. Example: Office users need parking between 8 and 5 while residential needs parking mostly overnight.

Rising construction costs (up to 25%) have dampened the viability of some projects. Some developers are leveraging new technology like 3D printing and pre-fab, modular components to counteract the rise in costs.

As technology continues to evolve the commercial real estate market, city planners have suggested that buildings could be designed in a modular fashion that would allow adaptability in the future.

The goal of new mixed-use developments is to create the ultimate experience for a variety of users. A resident, shopper, office worker, and visitor should all have a seamless experience.

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