If you have lived in or near Atlanta for any length of time, you have perhaps observed the change. For the past decade or so, our cityscape has been dotted with an increasing number of mixed-use developments — buildings and complexes combining residential, retail, office, recreational and sometimes cultural uses in one building or locale. From High Street in Dunwoody to Ponce City Market in Old Fourth Ward to the string of many other complexes springing up along the developing Atlanta BeltLine, mixed-use developments are becoming an integral part of Atlanta’s landscape, providing a blend of urban convenience and luxury living that attracts thousands of businesses and residents alike.
Mixed-use buildings aren’t a new concept: in fact, in a way, they have served as an integral part of American city building for as long as we’ve been building cities. To this day, our historic downtown areas are identified by multi-story structures with retail shops on the ground floor and apartments above. In older cities like New York City and Boston, these structures dominate the architectural landscape, blurring the lines between residential and commercial sectors.
However, in recent years, developers have rediscovered the economic and logistic advantages of providing shopping, dining and living spaces under one roof — or at least around one courtyard — and the public is responding in kind. These days, a first-time home buyer in Atlanta is just as likely to seek out a luxury condo in a mixed-use development as a single-family home in the suburbs.
The appeal of mixed-used complexes
Why are developers so interested in building mixed-use complexes, and more importantly, what makes them so appealing to business owners and home buyers? Let’s look at a few of the primary advantages:
People like being able to step outside their door to get what they need in the moment — and business owners love that their shops are only steps away from thousands of potential customers.
2. Reduced or eliminated commutes
The migration toward the suburbs over the past decades seems to be making a turn as people grow tired of traffic jams and long commutes. Mixed-use developments place people, their shops and their workplaces in close proximity, eliminating commute times for some.
3. A “greener” solution
For the environmentally conscious, mixed-use developments reduce the need for automobile travel, reducing harmful emissions in the process. Developers are also gravitating toward greener building solutions and carbon-neutral developments.
4. A healthier, more active lifestyle
As walkability has become a desirable commodity for neighborhoods, mixed-use developments encourage people to walk more, improving health overall.
5. Economic advantages
By combining residential and commercial interests, developers are better able to “hedge their bets,” knowing that if one area of the market experiences a lull, the others can remain intact. Likewise, the mixed-use concept makes luxury amenities ultimately more affordable for residents.
How are mixed-use developments reshaping Atlanta’s landscape?
As more and more of these complexes spring up, we’re seeing some distinct changes in the way Atlanta looks and feels. Here are some of the direct and indirect effects of the rise in mixed-use development:
Revitalizing older and deteriorating neighborhoods
Mixed-use complexes are an integral part of the renaissance of Atlanta’s more eclectic neighborhoods. A prime example is Ponce City Market, which included a complete overhaul and renovation of the old Sears & Roebuck Building in the Old Fourth Ward.
Rekindling an interest in urban living
Many people are rediscovering the advantages of living, working and shopping in the same local area.
Mixed-use properties enable more people to live within a smaller area, reducing the “urban sprawl” effect while helping Atlanta accommodate its continued spike in population more efficiently.
Restoring the micro-economy
Mixed-use development is playing well into the “new urbanism” movement, encouraging self-sufficient micro-communities and local buying and selling, which many people feel is a key to the future of the economy.
Making walkability and luxury living accessible to more people
The mixed-use model has created the ability for more people to enjoy a walkable lifestyle, along with luxury amenities and conveniences previously out of reach.
While mixed-use developments aren’t necessary for everyone, they definitely provide a whole new dynamic to Atlanta’s housing market, as well as playing an integral role in the shaping of our city’s future. To learn more about available homes in one of Atlanta’s many mixed-use complexes, call Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty at 404.948.4812.