Successfully managing mixed-use developments

Mixed-use development is a reality in today’s urban real estate landscape.  The implication and goal of a mixed-use development is that these uses are designed to work together and to complement each other. They create a unique and dynamic experience for both the resident and retail customer.

However, managing both the retail and residential components of a mixed-use development can pose several challenges.  Especially so when the management of retail is managed by one group and the management of the residential is managed by another group. 

The reality is, the retail and the residential components of a mixed-use development are designed to function in unison.  They are far too integrated physically and philosophically in their intended uses to be treated as two separate entities. 

Physically, these developments have shared common area elements as well as shared building mechanical systems that need to be managed to ensure that all responsibilities of the building are being taken care of and maintenance items are not being missed. Shared items can range from fire sprinkler systems, trash rooms and even to large snow melt or energy management systems and parking areas.

Additional matters that arise in mixed-use developments that typically have a negative impact on the residential experience involve trash, smells, traffic and noise transferring from one use of the building (a bustling restaurant or store) to another (apartments). Managing the needs of the retail as well as the expectations and experience of the resident is as much science as art.

Logistically, having two managers creates complexities when it comes to communicating with retail tenants as well as with residents, designating responsibilities between multiple management companies and ownership groups, coordinating shared spaces and systems and providing a high level of service cost effectively. In our experience, the greatest success in achieving an owner’s overall business plan is having one operator who understands the entire business plan and intent of the mixed-use development and can successfully execute the management of the retail and the residential.  More than ever, that dual competency is a hallmark of a modern property management company.  At SPM, we have the resources and expertise to do just that.

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