4C — April 14 - 27, 2017 — Pennsylvania — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


P ennsylvania

By Glenn Ebersole, High Concrete Group LLC Mixed-Use Development: What is it and why is it increasing?

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development may be a single building, a city block, or entire neighborhoods. Mixed-use development is not a new phenomenon. In fact, this type of development was popular for a long time until it was replaced by suburban sprawl. However we have seen that mixed-use develop- ment has experienced a rise in popularity as land becomes more valuable and populations are more concentrated in urban areas. It is interesting to note that traditionally, human settle- ments actually have developed

in mixed-use patterns. Then when skyscrapers were in- vented and developed, indus- trialization was occurring and governmental zoning regula- tions were introduced to sepa- rate different land uses, such as manufacturing, from resi- dential areas. Separate-use zoning was very common and popular In the United States after World War II. However, this has been changing since the 1990s and mixed-use zon- ing has become desirable again as the benefits are recognized. These benefits include: greater housing variety and density;

reduced distances between housing, workplaces, retail businesses, and other destina- tions; more compact develop- ment; stronger neighborhood character; and pedestrian and bicycle-friendly environments. With the increasing popular- ity of mixed-use developments, it is clear that certain trends are becoming more prevalent within this type of project. Three major trends relate to achieving a small town feel, a greener and more sustainable lifestyle and more strategic and smarter planning for transpor- tation.

Mixed-use developments of- fer residents and tenants a new and modern version of small- town living. Project designers strive to create uniformity among the structures and often include a central gathering place where people can come together. The result is a sense of community where people get to know their neighbors and local businesses in a real practical way. The ability to walk within the development itself and to walk and/or bike to stores, homes, and businesses from other loca- tions as well is a very positive trend. In today’s world society as a whole is striving to achieve a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Mixed-use develop- ments offer a way to reach and experience those goals by avoid- ing the need to drive to work or to run errands. More and more mixed-use developments are created in central locations and include walking/biking paths. Mixed-used development of- fers an alternative to the subur- ban sprawl and this is seen as one of its greatest advantages. Traditionally, suburbs are con- nected to a major urban center by a single highway where there is a continual challenge to meet the demands of ever in- creasing traffic and is therefore unstainable. In contract, with mixed-use development, entire communities can be planned with multiple routes to major destinations, allowing traffic to flow more smoothly even in times that are traditionally congested. Drivers of the continued popularity of mixed-use devel- opments include: the desire of tenants to be able to live, work, and play in an urban location; restrictions against development in certain regions and long commute times. As a result, demand for new office and residential space is on the rise, thereby increasing mixed- use development. Summarizing the “Why” of this may be succinctly stated that the biggest and strongest driver of mixed-use develop- ments is the emotional and so- cial element. People do want a sense of community and a well- planned, designed and built mixed-use development offers that sense of community to everyone who is in that space. Glenn Ebersole, P.E. is the Market Development Manager at High Concrete Group LLC. n

hat is mixed-use development and why is it on the

Mixed-use development is a type of u r b a n d e - v e l o pme n t that blends residential, commercial, cultural, in-

Glenn Ebersole

stitutional, or industrial uses. These different functions are physically and functionally integrated, and provide pedes- trian connections. Amixed-use

integrating the ART of landscape architecture with the SCIENCE of civil engineering

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