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Mixing and Matching

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As mixed-use projects continue to pop up around the country, the landscape has become at once more rigid and more flexible.

Rigidity surrounds financing; securing funds to build lavish mixed-use developments isn’t as easy as it once was. As one developer told Chain Store Age for this month’s special real estate supplement on mixed-use development, “If you have a project you want to build today, mixed-use or otherwise, you had better have a really, really good track record—and really good reasons for building what is planned. Because things have changed dramatically in the last year to year-and-a-half.”

A credit crisis, heightened bankruptcy angst and slowed retail expansion rates have taken a toll not just on mixed-use but on development as a whole. Yet, despite the economic crunch, mixed-use continues to proliferate, albeit more intelligently and at a smarter pace.

We talked with 14 different developers of mixed-use, and all agreed that mixed-use makes sense. The components vary—from retail and residential, to retail and office, to retail and hotel, to retail and civic uses and all of the above—but one thing remains clear: No matter how you slice it, retail is an important part of the mix.

In the project-profile section, you’ll see some of the mixed-use centers highlighted with a computer-mouse icon; be sure to check them out online at  www.chainstoreage.com/realestate, where you’ll find additional information, including leasing details.

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