Different developers look at mixed-use in different ways. One developer will look for trade areas that provide solid demand for retail, residential, office and perhaps other uses. The goal is to create developments where no single use dominates the others.
Still other developers gauge the demand for various uses and adjust the use offerings to match demand. In such cases, one use may dominate the center.
The Trademark approach to demand
Fort Worth, Texas-based Trademark Property Co. wants to meet the demands for all uses represented in its mixed-use centers.
Trademark researches market demands in trade areas by using the latest demographic technologies, and by presenting ideas to trade-area residents and businesses, asking what they want.
“If we’re the retail developer, we’ll also bring in multi-family, office and hotel developers to help evaluate markets,” said Terry Montesi, Trademark’s chairman and CEO. “Every use needs an advocate to ensure that it receives equal consideration and treatment.”
Trademark is currently talking to residents and business groups about a 63-acre wooded site in Fort Worth, Texas, called Waterside. A multi-family developer and office experts are also involved in the preliminary research and planning.
The preliminary plans for Waterside envision 150,000 sq. ft. to 225,000 sq. ft. of retail with a grocer and two to three junior boxes. In addition, the project will include 150,000 sq. ft. to 250,000 sq. ft. of office space and a signature hotel. The office space will include medical, legal and financial. Residential development will use 20 to 30 acres for a four-story multi-family structure and detached townhouses. Trademark also plans to maintain and enhance many of the natural features, including the river and existing heritage trees, with amenities such as hiking trails, amphitheater, dog park, recreation for children and adults, and water refill stations.
CASTO’s southern style of mixed-use
In the South, CASTO adjusts its offerings for different demands. “Our region is not high density like major urban areas,” said Shannon Dixon, CCIM, executive VP development and leasing, Southeast Realty Services, for Columbus, Ohio-based CASTO. “Here, retail is more dominant in mixed-use projects, and we spread out horizontally instead of vertically.
“Our customers dislike density. For instance, they want surface parking — not parking decks.”
Park West Village in Morrisville, N.C., illustrates CASTO’s mixed-use style. The five-mile ring has 145,000 people, a much less dense population than is customary for many other urban areas, yet still quite desirable.
“We have good residential and daytime populations, thanks to a major neighboring business site,” Dixon said.
With an average household income of $106,353, the Park West trade area is wealthier than most.
What does less density and more wealth mean to mixed-use plans?
At Park West, a main road splits the property approximately in half. On one side stands a 350,000-sq.-ft. power center anchored by Target, T.J.Maxx, PetSmart and buybuy BABY. Mixed-use lifestyle is across the road.
When complete, Park West Village will have 600,000 sq. ft. of retail, 42,000 sq. ft. of office space and 75 residential units on top of retail. That’s mixed-use, southern style.
Forest City idea: Born again centers
Forest City has noticed something that may alter shopping centers everywhere: As well-located shopping centers mature, their trading areas grow denser — with more homes and more residents, plus more daytime business employees. In short, as good centers mature, they morph into mixed-use sites.
“We’re looking at bringing our various disciplines — residential, office, hotel, civic center and others — into a number of our retail centers,” said Emerick Corsi, president of Real Estate Services with Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises.
One project, for instance, will convert Forest City’s 580,000-sq.-ft. Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Va., into a transit-oriented, urban mixed-use center with restaurants, entertainment, residential, office and upscale retail — to accommodate a larger and much wealthier trade-area residential and daytime employee population.
The plan is under way. The existing mall has a Macy’s and a Macy’s Home Store. Forest City has acquired the Home Store from Macy’s. “The Home Store structure connects to the mall on three levels,” Corsi said. “We’ll create three levels of new retail there and add residential and parking on top.
“We’ve also acquired the top three levels of Macy’s department store, which we’ll convert to office.”
Ballston Common Mall opened 28 years ago in 1986. Soon, it will be born again.