Out with the Old and in with the New Again Creative Investors and Developers Eye Obsolete Industrial Facilities for Experiential Adaptive Re-Use

Mar 28, 2019

By Rene Daniel

New mixed-use developments are thriving throughout the country. The reason is simple: people want convenience close to home. But this new trend is not just advantageous to the lifestyle of everyday Americas. It’s a huge opportunity for the savvy retailer.

There’s no arguing numbers for big-box stores are down almost everywhere, from patrons to profit and payroll. Adding residences to parcels or parking lots is the latest key to reversing this trend. By using existing, unused space, you can meld traditional retail and residential to build exciting, viable new downtowns.

Take the former parking space at Hunt Valley Towne Centre. Now the Avalon Hunt Valley, the once sprawling lot has new apartments that are open and leased. Or, in the case of Ownings Mills Mall, the addition of a Whole Foods and other lifestyle retail brands is revamping the area to complement residential that has outlived the mall.

The Benefits of Mixed-Use Developments

With anchor stores on the decline, mixed-use developments offer new opportunities. Retail developers get to turn excess land into income by selling or leasing it to a residential developer. Like the living space going up around Towson Town Center, these residences can help transform retail assets from shopping destinations into attractive areas for life, work and play.

Residents of mix-use developments have all they need right outside their door, while retailers enjoy the patronage of a built-in customer base. A prime example is the addition of Target to the mixed-use community in Annapolis Towne Centre, and surrounding it with PNC Bank, BIN 201 Wine Sellers, numerous restaurants, Restoration Hardware and more.

For the surrounding community, these multi-use properties grow business and benefit the neighborhood. A prime example is the once dilapidated Rotunda in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood, which now features luxurious apartment homes, premier shops like Starbucks, Xfinity and Mom’s Grocery. Retailers are creating vibrancy in what was once forgotten, underused land.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint and Eliminating Urban Sprawl

Urbanization has also been proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. First, when people live in mixed-use communities surrounded by abundant retail, they drive a whole lot less. Just as important, mixed-use developments reduce our concrete footprint.

Parking can be tucked under residential, eliminating the need for vast parking lots. This also helps eliminate water run-off problems. Look at the two horrible Ellicott City floods in the last few years. A big topic surrounding the cause of these floods is the impact from stormwater runoff.

With new mixed-use communities, were seeing the minimization of concrete footprints, the use of pre-existing space and the addition of sustainable site design to help reduce the overall environmental impact of the development.

What About the Future?

As we’ve seen throughout history, housing trends come and go. Yet with the development of new technologies impacting everything from the way we communicate to the way we travel; the future of mixed-use developments looks bright.

Driverless cars are closer to becoming a reality every day. Just imagine a world where you can simply send for your car to pick you up at your door. Now, think of the infinite potential waiting for you in all those retail parking lots.

Ready to Explore Your Mixed-Use Development Opportunities?

Trout Daniel and Associates is here to help. With our experience in retail, office and industrial, investment and property management, we can walk you through every aspect of successful mixed-use development investment and management.