While some folks might see the growth in mixed-use development throughout the Baltimore region as a rise, it’s really a rebound – after all, our cities were the original mixed-use developments, with industry, retail, and residential all combined into the same area and the same city blocks. With industrialization and the introduction of the skyscraper, mixed-use zoning went by the wayside. In the past two decades or so, it has rebounded greatly, not just throughout the Baltimore region but also across the nation.
The Advantages of Mixed-Use Developments
There’s plenty to love about mixed-use developments. The basis behind them is that by combining residential, commercial, retail, and industrial uses, you create one place for everything. This allows residents to work, live, and play in a localized area. This can alleviate commute times, the time it takes to run errands, parking headaches, and other issues that segregating zoning types into specific regions can bring.
These developments aren’t just attractive to those who live, play, and work there either. Another main reason they are surging ahead is that they provide a great proposition for developers and investors.
- They solve the problem of effective land use in supply-constrained areas, such as Baltimore, by integrating so many different uses into a single project.
- They meet consumer demands – convenience isn’t just for residents. By having retail mixed amongst offices and light-industrial, it makes it easier for that accountant to get lunch – they just have to walk across the street. That secretary doesn’t need to schedule running errands after work, they can just walk down the block to the Whole Foods before heading to their car to drive home.
- They provide the all-important diversification for investor portfolios. Thanks to incorporating such a variety of uses and tenants, investors and developers are better protected against large vacancies that can hit them in single-use properties, not to mention they can strategically roll over tenants and increase rents to achieve regular growth.
Mixed-use developments really are all-around winners, for tenants and developers alike. They are also helpful for local governments, putting more tax dollars into the locality. Finally, they also benefit the environment, as they are compact and allow for cohesive planning on how to minimize environmental impact.
Mixed-Use Projects in the Baltimore Area
Driving around the Baltimore area, you’re sure to see many building and development sites preparing for work, and more often than not, these sites will be used for mixed-use development. Plenty of high-profile mixed-use projects have been making headlines recently.
- In West Baltimore, a mixed-use redevelopment of Hollins Market is aimed at keeping residents in the neighborhood while attracting potential retail and commercial interest, with a gym already having shown interest.
- The long-awaited Towson Row mixed-use project – a $350 million project including hundreds of residential and housing units, a hotel, shops, and restaurants – has been revived thanks to a public financing package and looks to move ahead.
- East Baltimore is expecting to see over $300 million in mixed-use development as part of the proposed $889 million redevelopment project that will include replacing Perkins Homes.
- South of M&T Bank Stadium, the Southern Gateway entertainment district is expected to bring entertainment-focused mixed-use development, including a brewery, a Topgolf facility, a music venue and more interspersed with hotels and residences.
- The relocation of Under Armour’s headquarters to Baltimore will be the central piece in a mixed-use development planned for the Port Covington section.
These are on top of the many successful projects that have been completed in recent years, and that have become part of our landscape throughout the region. Places like Howard Square in Elkridge and 2121 Eastern Ave in Baltimore City.
Mixed-use developments aren’t going to slow down any time soon. In fact, with the 2017 revision to Baltimore’s zoning code – the first update in over forty years – mixed-use is set to get a boost. Two changes to the code encourage further mixed-use development in the near future.
The first, “industrial mixed-use,” allows for residential development in areas that were previously industrial. Allowing residential and office uses, while retaining light-industrial, will make some of the Baltimore region’s industrial areas more attractive to developers who want to retain some of the classic usage of the area, but capitalize on possibilities.
The same goes for the other big change, the “office industrial campus” category. While this category doesn’t retain residential usage, it does allow for both industrial and commercial usage in the same area. This is convenient for industries where having manufacturing and support close by is desirable.
These additional mixed-use development options ensure that these projects will be a big part of Maryland’s landscape for years to come. These projects need a skilled excavation team, ready to tackle the quirk and issues that can arise from pursuing mixed-use capabilities – a team like SEH Excavating. So reach out to our Baltimore team to see how we can give your mixed-use development a great foundation to build on!