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Managing a Mixed Use Development

Written by Kristin Bartish, Senior Property Manager

Promenade of Wayzata
Image of The Promenade of Wayzata located in Wayzata, Minnesota

Management of a mixed-use development can present an array of challenges, but also provides multiple opportunities. By definition, mixed-use development means providing more than one use or purpose within a shared building or development. As an example, this could include combining house, office and retail components into one project. The implication and goal of a mixed-use development is that these uses are designed to work together and to complement each other. If you have residential and retail on a development you have a 24/7 feel with walkability. There is a convenience to being able to get on the street to go shopping or down to the local bar or restaurant without having to get into your car.

Several challenges which can arise include communicating with retailers as well as with residents, designating responsibilities between multiple management companies and ownership groups, coordinating shared spaces and systems and providing a high level of service cost effectively. Making sure to establish strong relationships with ownership groups, additional management groups and tenants is key. Providing consistent updates to retailers and management groups (which they can then pass on to their residents), in regard to construction, leasing and routine maintenance projects within the development helps to alleviate additional telephone calls and emails. Tenants and residents want to feel included and informed about their community. Open communication makes them feel comfortable because they are kept up-to-date on what is going on where they live and work.

Parking is another common issue that arises for mixed-use facilities. It is ideal to have separate parking for commercial use and residents. Retail employees and owners also need designated areas to park in order to keep the most convenient parking options available for clients and customers. This is especially important when there is limited parking available. Vigilantly policing parking areas to ensure that the rules and regulations are being adhered to is imperative. Having a good on-site person or security team is incredibly helpful to assist in monitoring parking areas.

St. Paul - Hamline Station
Image of Hamline Station located in St. Paul, Minnesota

Additional matters that arise in mixed-use developments involve trash, smells, traffic and noise transferring from one use of the building (a bustling restaurant or store) to another (apartments). This can be a hot-button for residents who are not used to living in a more urban development where there is more traffic and noise generated by deliveries and retail customers. Setting realistic expectations and establishing delivery times is key in helping to ensure happy residents and tenants.

Having shared common area elements as well as shared building mechanical systems also needs to be handled carefully to ensure that all responsibilities of the building are being taken care of and maintenance items are not being missed. This can be an area of opportunity to share costs which can help to lower overall costs to retailers and residents. Shared items can range from fire sprinkler systems, trash rooms and even to large snow melt or energy management systems. It is necessary to have a strong network of trusted vendors and consultants which all parties are comfortable with to keep the mixed-use development running smoothly. This usually comes back down to strong communication between parties and open sharing of information.

Mixed-use developments spur revitalization, promote an efficient use of land and infrastructure, encourage pedestrian and bicycle travel and enhance a sense of community. By having a combination of uses in one development there is land-use synergy with residents providing customers to the retailers who, in turn, are providing products and services to residents. Working together with open communication between all parties – management groups, residents, retailers, vendors and ownership – creates a solid network focused on strengthening the overall development and community.

Kristin Bartish
| Senior Property Manager
Mid-America Real Estate – Minnesota, LLC
5353 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 650 | Minneapolis, MN 55416
Direct: 952.563.6670 | Fax: 952.563.6633 | Web Design
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