Keys to a Successful Mixed-Use Project

How to make the commercial component of your mixed-use project an exciting asset.

As more areas of the Fraser Valley experience growth and receive updated community plans, mixed-use projects are becoming more and more common. This has created a new challenge for residential developers whose expertise do not lie in retail or office development.

Due to a rise in demand for office and retail, these commercial spaces are quickly becoming an asset rather than a drag on the project’s proforma. Office and retail space can be an opportunity for untapped revenue and a way to provide home buyers with walkable commercial amenities.

Amson Square is a new mixed-use development by Amson Group, featuring almost 22,000 square feet of pedestrian oriented retail space and 90 studio, 1 & 2 bedroom homes.
Amson Square is a new mixed-use development by Amson Group, featuring almost 22,000 square feet of pedestrian oriented retail space and 90 studio, 1 & 2 bedroom homes.

Office and retail real estate challenges faced by developers

  • It’s not your specialty.
    Developers and builders who specialize in residential, but who are building a mixed-use project due to municipal requirements, don’t always have the expertise or resources required to make the commercial component a success.
  • The target audience is different.
    The audiences for the office and retail spaces are different than the audience for the residential marketing campaign. This necessitates a separate marketing strategy and collaboration between both the commercial and residential project marketing teams/companies.
  • It’s expensive.
    The building requirements for commercial can be much more expensive than residential. For example, it must be concrete construction and different uses will have specific requirements like venting, power and parking which can add to the cost.
  • Comparable commercial real estate transaction data can be tough to obtain.
    Data regarding lease rates is especially tough to get as it’s not published on the CLS (Commercial Listing Service). Similar to new home sales, new construction transactions are not often published as only one or two units will be advertised on the CLS.

A skilled commercial agent can work with you to overcome all these challenges as well as embrace the below opportunities.

Soleil by RDG Management is a mixed-use development that will bring over 25,000 square feet of new office and retail space, as well as 178 new homes, to White Rock Town Centre.
Soleil by RDG Management is a mixed-use development that will bring over 25,000 square feet of new office and retail space, as well as 178 new homes, to White Rock Town Centre.

4 key areas of opportunity for commercial projects

(whether they are part of a mixed-use project or not)

Pricing Strategy
Once the developer has made the decision on whether to sell or to lease the commercial space, the goal is to generate the maximum value through staged releases and extensive market exposure. To help with this, a skilled commercial agent can make recommendations regarding:

  • How to price units based on supply and demand instead of comparable sales/rates
  • Pricing for investors vs. owner/occupiers
  • The pros and cons of presales/preleasing
  • How to manage multiple offers and offers from similar tenants

Tenant/Buyer Mix
Tenant/buyer mix is key to a project’s immediate and long term success. Creating a balanced and synergistic mix of businesses and/or investors can be achieved through targeted marketing. At Frontline Real Estate Services, our market-tested marketing strategies help attract the right buyers/tenants. We can make recommendations regarding:

  • Which types of businesses will attract other buyers/tenants and which should be avoided
  • Which current buyer/tenant mix trends have been successful in the market
  • What types of businesses are in high demand in the area
  • Where within the project different buyers/tenants should be located

Parking Plan
Each project and buyer/tenant will have different parking requirements. Having a balance of customer parking, reserved parking, and common property parking is a major consideration of prospective buyers/tenants. At Frontline Real Estate ServicesServices, we work with stakeholders to create a parking plan, which can include reserving stalls to offer for purchase. We can also make recommendations regarding:

  • The pros and cons of reserved parking vs. common property parking
  • The number of parking stalls per buyer/tenant (based on unit size)
  • The number of customer parking stalls that different businesses will require
  • Availability and pricing for additional parking stalls

Signage Plan
Pylon and building/store-front signage is a significant selling point for many businesses. Considerations regarding placement, cost and distribution can make or break a deal. At Frontline Real Estate Services we can make recommendations regarding:

  • The pros and cons of different signage options
  • What the different types of signage should cost a buyer/tenant
  • How signage should be distributed amongst buyers/tenants

If you have an upcoming project that you would like to discuss don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Featured Projects

You can learn more about the projects featured in this post, as well as a few recently completed projects, below.

For lease: SOLEIL BY RDG MANAGEMENT LTD.

Soleil provides the opportunity to lease retail and/or office space in a new mixed-use development anchored by RBC. Soleil is located in White Rock Town Centre, the main gateway to the community. The property boasts:

  • Ground floor retail space
  • Second and third floor office space
  • Ample surface and underground stalls for retail, office and strata use, plus 4 loading stalls
  • High exposure corner location with signage opportunities
  • Shell space allowing for custom build out
  • Commercial leasing by Frontline Real Estate Services Ltd.

For lease: Amson Square by Amson Group

Amson Square is a new mixed-use development strategically located on 72 Avenue, minutes from King George Boulevard and 152 Street. Amson Square consists of two 5 storey buildings with pedestrian oriented retail space on the ground floor and residential units above. The project will offer abundant parking with surface parking at the rear of the building reserved for
retail customers. The building’s exposure and location make it ideally suited for a restaurant/cafe, medical office, bank, or any service oriented business

  • Up to 9,965 sf retail space in new mixed-use development
  • Exposure and signage opportunities on 72 Avenue
  • Restaurant venting available
  • Ample surface parking at rear
  • Commercial leasing by Frontline Real Estate Services Ltd.

SOLD OUT: Lattice2 by Vesta Properties

Lattice2 by Vesta Properties is the gateway project in the heart of their award-winning Milner Heights community. This rare owner-occupier retail opportunity boasts exposure and signage opportunities on 208 Street and 72 Avenue while the residential units above provide a built in customer base.

  • Rare owner-occupier retail opportunity
  • Located in Willoughby, a vibrant & growing Langley community
  • Exposure, access/egress, & pylon signage on 208 Street & 72 Avenue
  • Surface & underground parking
  • 100% sold firm February 2019
  • Commercial sales by Frontline Real Estate Services Ltd.

100% LEASED: U-BUILDING ABBY BY TRIUMPH PACIFIC PROPERTIES

The U-Building Abby is a new mixed-use development with ground-level retail space, five stories of residential units, and parking at the rear. Strategically positioned on McCallum Road in Abbotsford’s UDistrict, the U-Building is one block south of the Highway 1 interchange and one block west of the University of the Fraser Valley and Abbotsford Centre.

  • Retail space in new mixed-use development
  • High exposure corner location with signage opportunities
  • Located in the emerging UDistrict neighbourhood
  • 100% leased to long term medical & wellness tenants
  • Commercial leasing by Frontline Real Estate Services Ltd.
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George Richmond

Personal Real Estate Corporation

Commercial Sales & Leasing
Commercial

George Richmond (Personal Real Estate Corporation) is a commercial real estate broker at Frontline Real Estate Services, specializing in both sales and leasing with a focus on office, retail, and commercial development properties located in the Fraser Valley.

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