Work, Live, Play: Mixed-Use Real Estate Makes Sense

July 7, 2014

The best way to beat rush hour is to walk to work, stroll to the grocery store and jog to the gym. Tenants want more “walkability” in their day-to-day lives, and one of the best opportunities to deliver that experience is through strategic mixed-use commercial real estate space.


Mixed-use real estate is any project that integrates residential, commercial, institutional, or industrial uses, and makes it easy for pedestrians to navigate. The concept of facilitating a working, living and recreational environment may seem obvious, but industrialisation and government zoning once created barriers for projects like these, sectioning off where people can live, where people can work and where retailers can sell.


Today, people are anxious to live near where they work and socialize. Zoning barriers are easier to overcome, and involving zoning committees early on in the planning phase of your project can help avoid obstacles down the road.

“City planners are taught that mixed-use developments are vibrant and walkable, but most planners think the only way to achieve that is to have ground-floor retail,” said Seth Weissman of Weissman Nowack Curry & Wilco. “If you can fill it with the right retail, that’s a great formula, but not every development can.”

Commercial office real estate is another lucrative alternative to retail space. Bringing thriving business and their employees to mixed-use developments can lay the foundation for growth in other sectors.


City plans, shifting neighborhoods and lifestyle trends can all affect the long term success of your mixed-use development. It’s important to understand how the landscape around you will grow and change. If the city is investing to grow the downtown, it may be in your best interest to grow with those areas. Studies show more Millennials are opting to rent apartments instead of purchase houses, which means there is opportunity to meet their new demand for downtown multi-family housing. All these cultural and lifestyle trends affect how your development will perform, so make sure your vision is based on sound demographic and geo-targeted information.


These properties are not going anywhere. Diverse tenants, multiple owners, unique structural needs and extensive planning make mixed-use projects a long, long term commitment, meaning designers and architects need to design with the future in mind. The exterior needs to be built to withstand changing design trends and the inside needs to be flexible enough to accommodate the changing needs of the community.

Contact our Construction and Development Team about opportunities to invest in a mixed-use commercial real estate project.