Mixed Use Development Issues

There has been much written of late about how Central Business Districts (CBDs) are the key to regional economic health, growth and sustainability.   We have written in the past about new urbanism concepts and concerns such as walkability and density. We have also written about the benefits of practical public transportation.   As I walk through the

The current economic downturn and the corresponding contraction of the retail sector have resulted in a glut of vacant “big-box” retail stores in shopping centers across the country. Vacant big-box spaces pose special challenges for landlords and communities. While the number of vacant big-box spaces is daunting, there are glimmers of hope as landlords and communities have become increasingly creative in their re-adaptive uses of these dark spaces. For creative landlords who are willing to invest in redesigning and redeveloping vacant big-box spaces, big boxes can provide opportunities for both landlords and communities.

Across the U.S., vacant big-box spaces have been successfully retrofitted for use by nonretail users such as churches, schools, colleges, medical and dental facilities, libraries, office and municipal tenants, health clubs, and other tenants who require large parking areas. Because traditional retail tenants are not available to fill vacant big-box spaces, Landlords should strongly consider non-traditional tenants for re-adaptive uses of vacant big-box spaces because they fill up highly visible vacant spaces (and community eye sores); they tend to be long-term, stable, credit tenants who may invest up-front in infrastructure improvements; and they are often well received by the community because of the benefits they provide.


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The current economic downturn and the contraction of the retail sector have resulted in an increasing number of vacant “big box” retail stores in shopping centers across the country. A “big box” is a freestanding building occupied by a single retail tenant that contains between 20,000 to 200,000 square feet of space and is surrounded

Almost all new build shopping centers are mixed use – they include some combination of office and residential in addition to the retail space. Elizabeth Hamilton, in house Real Estate Counsel at Office Depot, recently reminded me of the special problem this presents in allocating CAM, taxes and insurance. Some portion of each must be

“Mixed-use” developments, which incorporate residential units with retail or other commercial uses, have steadily gained in popularity over recent years. This is due to the fact that mixed-use developments offer advantages to developers, owners, tenants and residents when compared to traditional single-purpose developments. Many of today’s home buyers are increasingly interested in living within walking distance