Important Guidelines For Mixeduse Project Analysis

Three critical points for mixed-use development are:

1. There should be three or more significant uses. More specifically, these uses should be mutually supportive. Simply having three different zoning types within one subdivision is not effective. However, when the use is harmoniously coordinated so that each owner or tenant benefits from the other, the plan will be more effective. Ideally, everyone in a mixed-use environment should profit. The homeowner enjoys the convenience of a retail center and may even go to work or access services in an industrial area, for example. A sporting center further enhances lifestyle for everyone. However, some types of mixed uses may not be money-makers but will serve an essential service enhancing the desirability (and thus, the market value) of other uses.

2. Integration of components. The specific use of land and uninterrupted pedestrian access define the mixed-use plan itself, notably for residen-tially-based mixed-use developments.

3. A coherent plan. The type and scale of uses and permitted densities make the project more marketable and boost absorption.

What does a mixed-use project look like? There are two models that represent the modern mixed-use trend: the urban and the suburban form. The urban mixed-use project may be found within a high-rise, for example. The AOL Time Warner Building includes a hotel, apartments, condos, a music facility, and a shopping center, as well as office space and a complete television studio. It would be difficult to imagine more mixed use, and the very complexity of these uses makes the urban mixed-use development a study in good planning.

The suburban model tends to concentrate on residential land uses first, with other land use features designed to serve the needs of residents. For example, The Villages in Florida is primarily a series of gated communities. But the numerous golf courses are what developers promote, clearly aimed at the leisure/retirement market. Additionally, a highly structured down-

town area is in fact a shopping center designed to look like an old-fashioned town center. Typing together the residential, recreational, and retail aspects is a community identity that attempts to provide residents with a sense of belonging—not necessarily to the state or the county, but to the specific community itself.

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