While industry executives continue to express caution about the prospects for retail real estate-they can’t believe it can continue to be this good for much longer-they remain downright ebullient about mixed-use projects. Across the show floor, in the sessions and at cocktail parties, there was talk of new projects that combine retail with hotels, office complexes and residential development.
That’s a switch form a few years ago, when every company seemed to be showcasing a lifestyle center. It’s an interesting dynamic in an industry that has been dominated by the giant mall developers-these projects are much more democratic. It’s not just the big regional mall developers talking about mixed use, but also strip center and community center developers.
Developers Diversified Realty Inc, for example, has a project in Miami with 600,000 square feet of retail that will be topped by 3,000 residential units.
“You’ll see this at a lot of urban locations. It’s usually easier to entitle multiple uses because you can get the approvals quicker,” says Scott Schroeder, DDR’s vice president of marketing and corporate communications.
Taubman Centers is also jumping on the mixed-use bandwagon. The Mormon Church approached the company to redevelop a site across from its headquarters in downtown Salt Lake. The redevelopment of the site, which is also close to the city’s convention center, is intended to be a catalyst for more redevelopment, according to Steven Kieras, senior vice president of development for Taubman. The project will feature office, multi-family, hotel and retail all on one site. “It’s probably the most complicated construction project we’ve ever done,” Kieras says.