Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Public Not Very Mixed on Mixed Use Development

The National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) hosts a Mixed Use Resource Center on its website. The resource center is a good place to visit on the web for current information about mixed-use projects, trends, and news briefs.

There is no doubt that regardless of whether you live in the rust or sun belt, mixed use development is on the rise and here to stay for the foreseeable future. People want to live closer to their workplaces, and to have the conveniences offered in city centers. Economic conditions also favor the mixed use development. Property & Portfolio Research Inc. has reported that over 5500 new mixed use developments commenced this year alone. See Danielle Douglas, Real Estate Forum (06/06) Vol. 61, No. 6, P. 58.

Mixed-use development models present a host of challenging questions to be addressed by legal practitioners. These projects involve complicated ownership structures, and public/private partnerships where costs and revenues can be shared. They should be tailored to a community's overall economic development and land use plans, adding vibrancy and creativity to the mix.

Durham, North Carolina is a case in point. Commencing with a AAA ballpark stadium and class A high-rise office space, Durham began to experience a boom in the purchase and renovation of historic sites. Tobacco warehouses have been converted into office, retail, and residential in several key locations, creating the "live, work, play" environments characterized by mixed-use. The thirty-something demographic is enjoying the plaza and market-like open spaces all within a stone's throw from the new residential lofts and condominiums.

This model has been replicated in many other mid-size cities - take a look at Raleigh's North Hills Mall, Greenville, South Carolina's downtown, Washington's Anacostia River project, Virginia's Brambleton Town Center - and will likely continue as long as the economic climate remains favorable. Mixed-use development has something for everyone.


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