What is a Mixed-Use Building?

Throughout history towns and cities were built around a main thoroughfare, such as Main Street. First floor shops housed upper floor dwellings. It wasn’t until zoning laws did cities begin to regulate where buildings could be built, and what their function had to be. But in recent decades, younger generations have once again began to embrace the benefits of living in the heart of a city like Austin or San Antonio. On the heels of this revival, so to has the development of Mixed-Use Buildings returned. In this post we’ll discuss just what exactly is a mixed-use building and the different types of mixed-use developments that are being built in cities across the nation.

What does Mixed-Use Development mean?

multi-use building development in san marcos, texas

The term “mixed-use development” has multiple meanings and can be applied to a wide range of community real estate development projects. At the most basic of definitions, real estate developments may be classified as “mixed-use” if they provide more than one use or purpose within a shared building or development area. Mixed-used projects may include any combination of the following: housing, office, retail, medical, recreational, commercial, or industrial spaces.

Mixed-use real estate development projects in Texas can vary in scale from a single building occupied by a retail shop on the ground floor with an upstairs apartment to a comprehensive “urban village” development with multiple buildings containing separate but compatible uses such as a retail center, office building, and medical clinic located adjacent to a multi-family housing complex. Many of these urban village developments are often considered to be sustainable communities.

Types of Multi-Use Developments

Mixed-Use developments can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and scale. According to the Urban Land Institute’s Mixed-Use Development Handbook, a mixed-use development must provide three or more significant revenue-producing uses (such as retail, entertainment, office, residential, hotel, or recreation), foster community integration, and create a walkable community with uninterrupted pedestrian connections. With those requirements in mind, and mult-use zoning laws, this allows for mixed-use developments to take shape in a variety of forms, such as vertical or horizontal mixed-use developments. Here’s a list of some of the most common mixed-use real estate development plans.

Main Street

The Main Street model of mixed-use developments is arguably the oldest model of mixed-use property types. This model has survived the urban decline only to return and energize urban communities in towns and cities across Texas. While smaller towns still boast locally own businesses on the ground floor, larger metro areas are seeing services, hospitality, and entertainment venues fill the ground floors. What remains true about the Main Street mixed-use development model is that apartments or condos are still above these commercial spaces.

Shopping Mall/Department Store Conversion

With the rise of e-commerce, and giant online retailers like Amazon and Etsy, many brick-and-mortar retail businesses had to close up shop as they could no longer compete with the convenience afforded by ecommerce websites. Vacated shopping malls and large department stores have quickly found a new purpose by mixed-use real estate developers in Texas. These valuable pieces of real estate are now being used for residential units and businesses that are better suited to compete against ecommerce giants.

Vertical Mixed-Use Developments

Falling into a broader category of mixed-use developments, a vertical mixed-use building may house any combination of businesses. Typically, however, public uses such as restaurants, coffee shops, government offices, and even transit facilities congregate on the lower floors, while private uses the likes of condo units or hotel rooms are located higher up. This type of mixed-use development is common in cities like San Antonio and Austin downtown areas.

Horizontal Mixed-Use Developments

Horizontal mixed-use developments combine various single-use buildings into a single, cohesive, mixed-use lot. These type of multi-use real estate developments allow for the combination of businesses and residential units to evolve into a walkable community or even into a neighborhood. In urban areas around Texas, such as San Antonio or New Braunfels, horizontal mixed-use developments often repurpose abandoned buildings in what were formally industrial buildings. By repurposing former industrial buildings, these mixed-use developers make for popular places for condos, a myriad of shops, restaurants, banks, rec centers, and workspace offices.

Casey Development, Ltd: Multi-Use Real Estate Developers in San Antonio, Austin, and San Marcos

Casey Development, Ltd. is the experience mixed-use building developer investors rely on in Central Texas. We’ve helped develop mixed-use buildings in San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos, New Braunfels, and more. Contact our team of mixed-use building developers today to get started on your project today.