The Pros and Cons of Renting in a Mixed Use Property: Is It Right For You?

Originally posted on September 14, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on September 08, 2022 3:29 pm

If you’re in the market to rent, you might encounter something you’ve never heard of before: a mixed-use property. Shifting real estate trends have popularized mixed-use buildings. While there are many advantages to renting in a mixed-use building, there are also a few things to consider before renting from one.

Let’s take a look at the definition of a mixed-use property, the pros and cons of living in this property type, and where you might find them.

What is a Mixed Use Property?

By definition, a mixed-use property is a building that contains both commercial and residential space. Mixed-use buildings combine multiple types of real estate within a single building and offer an array options to renters. Within mix use there are a number of spatial combinations you might see: retail, residential, office, or industrial. Residents love having their favorite shops and restaurants within walking distance of their home, and these buildings help meet those needs.

Types of Mixed Use Properties

It is most common for mixed-use development to include complementary property types: an apartment complex with attached restaurants or a hotel connected to a boutique or gym. Let’s look at the most common types you might see on the market.

Main Street

The “Main Street” is the oldest mixed-use real estate model known in America. Mixed commercial and residential properties located in the center of town are a staple to most communities. Cities are often built around these buildings. The Main Street building type could include a two or three story residential building with commercial units on the ground floor. Harkening back to its name, they are generally located on the main street of a town.

Live/Work Space

The quintessential live and work mixed-use space offers small businesses with living space in the same building. Often above, below, or alongside the residential space, an example is business partners living next door to one another and alongside their business.

Residential and Office

Generally a commercial building with multifamily residential units in the same building, this type of space blends office and residential units while providing increased walkability for tenants.

Mixed-Use Hotels

One of the newer models of mix-use properties, mixed-use hotels include a hotel with retail space, a gym or fitness center, and some sort of food and entertainment.

The Benefits of Mixed-Use Buildings

Let’s take a look at the numerous upsides of living in a mixed-use building. Mainly, they offer a larger array of accommodations while promoting a diverse, multifaceted community.

Walkability Promotes A Strong Community 

The walkability factor, for many, will make or break a deal. According to the National Association of Realtors, most Americans prefer to walk to what they need. Coined “The 15 minute City,” the ideal living space is within 15 minutes walking distance from restaurants, schools, and other everyday shopping destinations.

In cities with traffic and high gas prices, walkability gives residents more time to enjoy being outdoors. Since people tend to spend more time within walking distances, the neighborhood surrounding multi-use buildings often have a stronger sense of community. Mixed-use buildings are often closer to schools, parks, libraries and other community needs, another major perk to residents.

Better Property Management

Due to the increased needs of mixed-use buildings, property management is generally more responsive than in strictly residential settings. With both business and residential units in the works, management will work effectively to mitigate problems and bring about quick resolution. Depending on the type of mixed-use building you are renting from, there might be multiple property managers for a single property which can quicken general response time.

Considerations for Living in a Mixed-Use Building

Despite all the great upsides, there are a number of aspects worth considering before renting from a mixed-use building. Finding what is right for you could depend on a number of factors.

There could be major differences between living in a mixed-use building versus living in a mixed-use neighborhood. Real estate surrounding mixed-use buildings can offer the same amenities without navigating the same traffic as being in the actual building. There could be different vibes between the two, so it’s best to explore any neighborhood you are considering to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Management can sometimes be more difficult in the mixed-use setting. Depending on the type of spaces constructed, multiple property managers might oversee a single building. While residents may receive faster responses, they may have to communicate with various people for help with maintenance or other issues. If the building is not managed smoothly, this could lead to delays in maintenance requests. Ask any building manager about the protocol for getting assistance while renting from them.

Lastly, poor residential planning can lead to tension between stores and residents, especially if residences are above a noisy business, or property access overlaps in a way that is awkward. When checking out a mixed-use property, make sure to take note of how the businesses in the building overlap with the residential units. Is the building near transit or nightlife? These factors could impact your decision as well.

Where to Find Mixed Use Buildings 

Now that you know the nitty gitty of mixed-use properties, where can you start finding them? RentHop has a multitude of mixed-use listings. There are a number of realtors on RentHop who specialize in mixed-use, or multi-use properties. Here are a few listings to get you started:

1.) 146 West 57th Street

Check out this rental unit with great views of Central Park located at 146 West 57th Street. The commercial part of the building has been used for office spaces!

2.) 217 West 57th Street

Originally named the Nordstrom Tower, this building is now known as Central Park Tower. Check out this rental unit that’s on the market right now for $50,000/month.

3.) 151 East 58th Street

One Beacon Court at 151 East 58th Street is commonly referred to as the Bloomberg Tower due to the fact that Bloomberg offices are located on the first few floors of the building. Residents can also enjoy some high-end Northern Chinese cuisine at Hutong , conveniently located downstairs. Units here are generally expensive, take for example, this $21,000/month rental unit.

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