Mixed-use developments become more prevalent in real estate

By- Romana Updated: October 12th, 2019 Subject: Real Estate Expert Publication: Globe & Mail

Creating live, work and play environments in one place is increasingly becoming more of an attractive lifestyle option for people – whether they are Millennials or an older demographic that is looking to downsize. Having all sorts of amenities so close to where you live is appealing. And many people also like the idea of working so close to home.

Romana King, a personal finance columnist, speaker, content strategist, project manager, digital marketer and award-winning real estate expert, says that in the last few years more municipalities have been turning to mixed-use developments, primarily in North America.

“For the most part in Canada mixed-use development have really gained momentum in the last five or six years,” she says.

 “The nice thing about mixed-use development is that it really does span just about anything where you can mix the use. So typically in North America what we’ve done is created zones, which is where we get zoning laws, where we segregated residential, light industrial and heavy industrial and all those were their own separate zones and you could only build a certain thing for a certain use in those zones.

 “But mixed-use means that you can overlap. You can have residential in a commercial zone. You can have commercial in a residential zone. You might even be able to have light industrial in a residential or commercial zone. Because quite often what we don’t realize is for a very long time light industrial was not allowed to be in a commercial area. You had to have very specific licences.”

Today, mixed-use is more and more prevalent in how Canadian society lives, works and plays.

 

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From a residential point of view, people like mixed-use developments or areas because it develops, creates or completes the complete community idea.

“Mixed-use isn’t a new idea. It’s just that North Americans got away from it at the turn of the century. About 1920 we stopped doing mixed-use development but prior to that we had a really strong emphasis on mixed-use . . . We always had the tendency to want to be around the hub, a lot of movement. And that’s why you started to see condos develop in the downtown cores because people wanted to be where the action was,” says King.

Now, cities are developing that environment. They’re developing neighbourhoods with a hub idea where you have commercial use, recreation, restaurants, stores – things where people gather as a community at the centre and residences are included in the mix.

“People like it because they don’t have to rely on a car. They can walk. They can get to know their neighbourhood. They can support economically their neighbourhood which supports their housing property prices. So it all sort of self feeds itself and helps the economic, the social, the environmental fabric of that community,” explains King.

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