Good Design is Good Business: An Analysis in Mixed-Use Architecture
MetadataShow full item record
Over the past several decades, a buzz-word has surfaced in the related fields of architecture, finance, and their intersection in the commercial real estate industry – “mixeduse.” Although this may seem like a new form of urban design, it can be traced back hundreds of years to the walled cities of medieval Europe. As centuries of urban development, decay, and redevelopment have played out, influential voices have been calling for an abandonment of single-use urban design and a return to a mix of uses. While mixed-use can be defined as simply as a development than contains three or more revenue-generating components on the same site, it is far more nuanced than that. A successful mixed-use development relies on cooperation between architects, developers, government officials, and community stakeholders. Additionally, it requires adherence to particular processes – engagement, scaling, and anticipation – and principles – place, equity, and detail – to be successful, both from an architectural and financial perspective. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of this thesis, a section will address the challenges and benefits that come with financing mixed-use developments and some of their unique financial features. These include high barriers to entry for smaller firms, a large required flexibility in project planning and debt structuring, a higher risk and return profile compared to single-use assets, and diversification and operational benefits. As it pertains to the architectural nature of this thesis, field research and observations for analytical discussion will be conducted at four award-winning, mixed-use developments: City Point in Brooklyn, NY, CityCenterDC in Washington, DC, CityCentre in Houston, TX, and Union Station in Denver, CO. These case studies will be analyzed along the processes and principles previously mentioned to determine what makes a successful mixed-use development.