Defining mixed-use real estate development and exploring the benefits

24 January 2024

What is mixed-use real estate development and why is it so popular?

Mixed used real estate development is a broad concept which can refer to different types of building. So, what makes a new real estate development mixed-use?

Generally, mixed use real estate development refers to any real estate project which incorporates multiple types of uses or real estate products. Common types of real estate development are typically broken down into two major categories, residential or commercial:

  • Residential Real Estate Development: any real estate development for an individual consumer. Typically, single family homes.
  • Commercial Real Estate Development: any real estate development for business purposes. Typically broken down into four primary subcategories, multifamily, retail, office or industrial.
    • Multifamily: This type of real estate refers to commercial developments which include multiple residences like apartments, condominiums, or senior housing.
    • Retail: Think shopping. Retail real estate projects include shops, restaurants, malls, grocery stores, and more.
    • Office: Projects built for office uses cater to all types of business users. Anything from software companies to medial offices like your primary care physicians or dentists.
    • Industrial: This type of real estate development caters users who typically need a lot of space, like manufactures, data centers, distribution centers and more.

Mixed use real estate development combines any number of applications together into one project. This can range from small retail or office spaces at the base of apartment towers, to master planned developments which incorporate everything from single family homes, senior housing, grocers, shopping, dining and more.

What are the benefits of mixed-use real estate development?

Real estate development and construction is hard enough, so why make it more complicated by developing multiple types at the same time?

There are many benefits of mixed-use real estate developments which is why many communities, cities, institutional investors, and banks prefer it. The primary benefit of mixed-use development is that it delivers something for everyone. By combining multiple uses, the needs of more consumers are better met. For example, while an apartment building on its own provides housing for a certain number of individuals, an apartment building which includes a grocery store at its base provides a vital service not only for the apartment residents but for the broader community.

Additionally, mixed-use development has proven to be a better investment for developers, banks, and communities alike. By incorporating multiple types of real estate products into a project therefore broadening the appeal of the product, the asset is better insulated from potential threats like pandemic or recession. Additionally, by expanding the consumer pool, the financial performance of the project improves, generating better returns for investors and higher tax revenues for communities which can be reinvested into the community.

Interested in learning more about mixed-use real estate development?

Focus has been at the forefront of the mixed-use real estate trend. As a developer and general contractor founded in 1993, Focus has over 30 years developing and delivering best in class commercial real estate products – most of which have mixed product types. From simple mixed-use developments which incorporate 1-2 uses like:

  • The Parker: A high-rise apartment tower with small retail at its base.
  • The Link Evanston: a student housing development with a 7/11 on the ground floor.
  • 167 Green: An office tower which incorporate retail at the base including shopping and restaurants, and a private events space.

To major master planned projects which incorporate multiple uses and phases.

  • The Atworth at Mellody Farm: a wrap-style apartment development with walkable retail surrounding the property including a luxury grocery.
  • The redevelopments of the Fox Valley and Hawthorn Malls, incorporating value add, renovation, multifamily and more through multi-phase reimagining of two regional mall properties.

To learn more about Focus’ experience with mixed-use development or to discuss a project of your own – please reach out today.

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