The Challenges of Managing a Modern Mixed Use Building
The Challenges of Managing a Modern Mixed Use Building

The Challenges of Managing a Modern Mixed Use Building

Mixed-use development means providing more than one use or purpose within a shared building or development. The rise in mixed-use development ties into efforts by cities across the U.S. to revitalize their downtown areas and close-in suburbs. Such projects can be a boost for neighborhoods in transition. This blog will cover the challenges of managing a modern mixed use building.

Several challenges which can arise include:

– Communicating with retailers as well as with residents
– Designating responsibilities between multiple management companies and ownership groups
– Coordinating shared spaces and systems and providing a high level of service cost effectively.


Making sure to establish strong relationships with ownership groups, additional management groups and tenants is key. Providing consistent updates to retailers and management groups (which they can then pass on to their residents), in regard to construction, leasing and routine maintenance projects within the development helps to alleviate additional telephone calls and emails.

Tenants and residents want to feel included and informed about their community. Open communication makes them feel comfortable because they are kept up-to-date on what is going on where they live and work.


Parking is another common issue that arises for mixed-use facilities. It is ideal to have separate parking for commercial use and residents. Retail employees and owners also need designated areas to park in order to keep the most convenient parking options available for clients and customers. This is especially important when there is limited parking available. Vigilantly policing parking areas to ensure that the rules and regulations are being adhered to is imperative. Having a good on-site person or security team is incredibly helpful to assist in monitoring parking areas.

Other Challenges

Additional matters that arise in mixed-use developments involve trash, smells, traffic and noise transferring from one use of the building (a bustling restaurant or store) to another (apartments). This can be a hot-button for residents who are not used to living in a more urban development where there is more traffic and noise generated by deliveries and retail customers. Setting realistic expectations and establishing delivery times is key in helping to ensure happy residents and tenants.

Having shared common area elements as well as shared building mechanical systems also needs to be handled carefully to ensure that all responsibilities of the building are being taken care of and maintenance items are not being missed. This can be an area of opportunity to share costs which can help to lower overall costs to retailers and residents. Shared items can range from fire sprinkler systems, trash rooms and even to large snow melt or energy management systems. It is necessary to have a strong network of trusted vendors and consultants which all parties are comfortable with to keep the mixed-use development running smoothly. This usually comes back down to strong communication between parties and open sharing of information.

Building Security

Finally, consider the logistics of enforcing the building’s security policies. Security officers must patrol the grounds regularly, greeting and assisting tenants and visitors as well as deterring trouble – and stopping it when it arises. Security officers must move around the property, when on patrol as well as when responding to incidents. Depending on the size and layout of the property, officers will travel on foot, in cars or SUVs, or on bicycles or Segways – motorized scooters that officers ride standing up.

Determining Whether to Outsource Security

Why outsource? It eliminates the time required to hire and manage personnel. If a patrol or station officer isn’t performing, a building manager need only request a different officer from the security supervisor. Replacing an in-house officer would likely be time-consuming and expensive.

Parking Security

The Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that 11% of property crimes and more than 7% of violent attacks occur in parking facilities. Any building with a parking facility must pay strict attention to parking security.

Parking facilities should undergo a formal security assessment that looks at the surrounding neighborhood, crime statistics and patterns of use. Recommended security features might include intercoms at entrances and exits as well as on the walls near elevators. Experts recommend adding emergency call stations too, as it can be difficult for cellphones to communicate through a concrete parking structure.

Video cameras can scan the parking areas and today’s improved intelligent video systems can monitor for signs of trouble. Of course, building access cards can be configured to access parking gates and help to limit traffic in a garage.

Mixed-use developments spur revitalization, promote an efficient use of land and infrastructure, encourage pedestrian and bicycle travel and enhance a sense of community. By having a combination of uses in one development there is land-use synergy with residents providing customers to the retailers who, in turn, are providing products and services to residents. Working together with open communication between all parties – management groups, residents, retailers, vendors and ownership – creates a solid network focused on strengthening the overall development and community.

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