The Rise of Mixed-Use Retail Properties: How Shopping Centers are Transforming Successfully

The development of the mixed-use retail property was born out of a need to reignite shoppers’ interest in malls and drive foot traffic. A growing number of aging or failing shopping malls are currently being, or have already been, transformed into vibrant, more-profitable, entertainment hubs where consumers can live, play, visit, and shop.

Adapting to the Changing Times

More demanding than ever, consumers seek varied experiences in spaces where they’re able to accomplish many different objectives, such as dining, food shopping and shopping in general, banking, entertainment, visiting the doctor, staying at a hotel, socializing, or fitness activities, just to name a few. In addition to responding to changing consumer demands, developers are also leveraging varied adjacent commercial and luxury residential properties to tap into the existing consumer base that has grown around them.

Mall to Mixed-Use Trend Starts in Florida

Referred to as a ‘lifestyle center,’ Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida started the mall-to-mixed-use trend back in 1991. Originally the Boca Mall, the property was successfully converted from a conventional shopping center to a multi-use complex featuring luxury apartments, an office plaza with 96,000 square feet of class-A office space, a seven-story office tower with an additional 62,000 square feet of office space, restaurants, a cinema, a hair salon, over 255,000 square feet of diverse retail, and the world-class Center for the Arts at Mizner. The Center for the Arts offers visitors a multitude of cultural activities and includes a 5000-seat amphitheater, the Boca Raton Museum of Art and venues showcasing emerging artists.

A True Urban District

The failing former Town & Country shopping center in Houston, Texas, was purchased by Midway Companies in 2004 and transformed into the mixed-use CityCentre. This self-contained community is designed as a true urban live-work-play district. Situated on a 50-acre development, CityCentre is surrounded by open-air plazas and designed green spaces. It features more than 400,000 square feet of upscale retail and elegant dining; five office towers of class-A office space with main floor retail; luxury residences including apartments, brownstones and lofts; two conference centers; cinemas; programmed entertainment; a hotel; and an athletic club with spa and café. With a post office, a hospital and all the services you would need near-by, CityCentre truly is an urban live-work-play district.

Upgrading Patient Experience and Convenience

Originally built in 1968, Nashville’s One Hundred Oaks Mall was rescued from serious decline by leveraging an overcrowded medical center’s need for space. Architectural firm Gresham Smith reimagined the deteriorating retail center to accommodate the needs of Vanderbilt Health. The extensive renovation in 2008 transformed the 880,000-square-foot center into a successful, mixed-use medical office destination, with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center occupying the office building and upper floor of the mall, with retail on the bottom floor of the mall. Located next to the mall the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 27, Tennessee’s largest movie complex, also helps to bring in foot traffic. The mall project has been a great success not only for Vanderbilt and the retailers, but also for the community. The project has had the added benefit of revitalizing the area, attracting new restaurants, a bank, and additional retail like Walmart.

What’s Next for Mixed-Use

The mixed-use transformation of shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retail is not only creating dynamic, exciting spaces for consumers, it is also having a positive impact on urban development, and not just in depressed areas. The City of Westminster, Colorado is one such case in point. Originally a small city with a population of 1,000, Westminster now has over 114,000 residents and is growing. Prior to its population growth, Westminster never had a ‘downtown’ – a social and cultural city center. The city is rectifying that situation now by transforming a one hundred-and-five-acre former shopping mall site into its downtown. The sustainable mixed-use district will offer residential (rental and homeownership opportunities), retail, office, civic, and a variety of parks and public spaces.

From complexes to city centers, shopping centers and other brick-and-mortar retail properties are successfully being transformed into mixed-use spaces that offer consumers a multitude of reasons to visit, live, play and shop.

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