Should You Go Mixed Use?

What could be more appealing than an apartment building with the comfort of having businesses, stores, and offices right below it? A mixed use property offers exactly that. Offering simple and close commutes to work or the grocery store will likely keep your building occupied but can also add to the risk of being the cause of a fire or bug infestations. It’s better to be aware of what questions to ask and the risks involved before investing in a mixed-use building to avoid loss of money or possible confrontation with other owners in the building.


Hours of Operations

While your lease may specify specific hours of minimal noise for your tenants, the businesses below them may operate during the late night hours. Make sure to know the hours of operation for other businesses in the building and that your possible tenants are aware of their hours. Popular businesses in a mixed use property may get a lot of traffic, foot and automobile so having extra insulated floors and ceilings to reduce noise. Also having extra parking available specifically for tenants would cause less problems with other business owners within the building.

Strong Odors

If there are restaurants below your tenants apartments, improper ventilation could cause the building to smell of fried, burnt, or bad food. Be sure to find out what type of ventilation or odor control systems are used in them and also inspect the apartments units upstairs to make sure the ventilation systems are working and you cannot smell any odors for the ground floors.

Waste Management

Having restaurants or supermarkets below your units may cause an infestation of rodents and bugs if they do not abide by cleanliness and waste management specifications. Know the waste disposal schedule for the businesses below and keep a trash room separate for your tenants.

Utility Payments

If you decide to invest in a mixed-used building be sure to check out how the utilities for the businesses below are metered, as well as whether the utilities are paid by the individual’s tenants or yourself. Make sure your residents are only paying for the consumption of utilities for their units and not extra due to the business in the building.


Having commercial business below your residents will mean a substantial opportunity for non-resident access to the building. Be sure to prevent strangers from entering your residential building with a security system of some sort. Also pay attention to the amount of traffic in the businesses below, a bank or office will have less foot traffic and regular business hours compared to a coffee shop or bar and grill restaurant.

A study done by the Urban Land Institute in 2013 showed that 62 of Generation Y stated they would rather live where there is more public transportation and have access to closer shopping areas. So while more Americans find it appealing to live in mixed-use buildings, make sure to do your homework before you purchase to avoid complications in the future.

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Kurt Kroeck

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By Kurt Kroeck

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