LIVE, WORK PLAY: Mixed-use real estate developments are the next big thing.

Author:Andra, Jacob

"Lifestyle preferences today differ significantly from those of the past," says developer, Adam Robinson in the National Real Estate Investor. That's an understatement. Twenty years ago, the internet was a thing for nerds. Big-box shopping malls were where the cool kids hung out, and a twenty-minute car ride for a burger or a new pair of jeans was no big deal.

Now, we can order anything online and have it on our front porch in 48 hours. Or quicker, if we're willing to pay a bit more. We'd rather our favorite restaurant be located within three blocks, and there better be a coffee shop that close, as well. Driving is now a burden, something we do when in need of an emergency toilet plunger, a last-minute recipe ingredient, or a pharmacy prescription picked up.

Thankfully, real estate has been following our urbanization trend, moving away from car-centric cities and toward dense, walkable 'clusters' with all the amenities of life-restaurants, grocery stores, pubs, etc.--sprinkled within easy reach. A new-ish trend amplifies this urban-local aesthetic by bringing living spaces, businesses, and other types of real estate into that same cluster of buildings. Goodbye, strip malls and apartment complexes eight (or twenty-eight) blocks apart. Hello, mixed-use development.

"Good mixed-use projects find synergies between communities of residents and the services they want and use," says Chamonix Larsen, a Utah architect and adjunct instructor at the University of Utah's College of Architecture + Planning. Ms. Larsen, herself a former resident of a mixed-use condo development, says she enjoyed the experience and that "walking became the preferred mode of transportation" because everything was so... available.


The idea behind mixed-use development is that it blends commercial, residential, and retail spaces together so residents can work, dine, and shop where they live. As Darlene Carter of CW Urban puts it, "residents, tenants, and visitors are all interacting and engaging," and creating an environment "where people can live, shop, work, and play."

CW Urban is creating those sorts of communities all over Salt Lake City. Their goal? "To create micro-communities that enhance, strengthen, and contribute to the greater fabric of existing communities." Like The Ruth, a still-in-progress mixed-use development in Salt Lake City's Central Ninth district (800 S and 300 W, to be precise).

The Ruth features 17...

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