As of writing this in Quarter 2 in 2016, Mixed-Use commercial concepts are trending nation-wide, especially in high urban and metro areas, but no one is talking about the intensification of these units and how they are costing developers. Maybe everyone knows when talking about mixed-use that intensification is an assumption on the part of planners, and the cost of pushing these permits through can be pretty complex when thinking of time and money. But, judging by the amount of proposed mixed-use concepts with the actual number of mixed-use concepts approved tells another story.
Alright, lets break-down what intensification of square footage is. Basically, it occurs when you increase a space with a higher density of people or traffic. Intensification can be done by redeveloping old sites, putting a mix of uses in one space to more efficiently use the space, or expanding existing sites to include another use. This isn’t a complete definition but a paraphrased one to keep things as big picture as possible. So, that all sounds very scientific but here’s the catch: cities can use this word intensification for anything they feel, rightfully or maybe not so rightfully, increase traffic or changes the acceptable percentages for zones in the area.
For example, 60% of this neighborhood must be retail, 20% restaurant, 10% residential, and 10% for parks and recreation (crude example, I know, but go with it), and you propose an expansion on existing retail with 3 stories of office on top. This changes the already approved zone percentages and the city will send you to planning for a conditional use permit or change of use permit citing, you guessed it, intensification.
What’s in it for Me?
But, you already knew that didn’t you? Maybe you didn’t know this: even adding a shade structure or awning outside an existing space can be claimed for intensification. The city official could make the case it will increase density because more people will want to walk by.
What happened to straight mixed-use, as oxymoronic as it sounds? Well, city councils and different groups as soon as they hear the words cringe and may freeze a project. I am sure we are all familiar with NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard), folks whose sole purpose is to block projects they don’t want in their area, and in some areas, these NIMBYs have a large amount of sway. Many cities and their economic developers feel calling these projects something else could help advocate for them. The payoff is they also can charge for other smaller items, like the aforementioned awning, citing intensification. It isn’t all bad though.
Intensification can help increase public transportation in a traditionally ignored area, can revitalize a district that was sliding into decay, and of course, create jobs. If you’re reading this chances are you are a retail, restaurant, or brand working with a developer to install a mixed-use or intensify a space. Creating jobs and building communities is all in a days work for you; so, why read this article from Permit Advisors?
Well, intensification is a fancy way of saying you will need something more than a building permit to get started. You are going to need to see planning, maybe historical preservation, visit a city council meeting, and pay an arm and leg. For Permit Advisors, this is our bread and butter, we love mixed-use projects and we love pushing these projects faster. We can save time, money, and heart-ache for these kinds of projects. Contact us today for a consultation at www.permitadvisors.com .
About Us: Permit Advisors Inc is a nationwide permit expediting, entitlement, and consulting firm based out of Beverly HIlls, CA. We have established relationships with municipalities nation-wide and implement time as well as cost saving strategies to efficiently complete projects. We provide a project management team to ensure every aspect of the project is given specific attention while maintaining open communication between the jurisdiction, consultants, and our clients. We serve retailers, architects, landlords, tenant coordinators, contractors and franchisees nationwide in the hotel, retail, restaurant, mixed-use, multifamily, entertainment, grocery, and logistical plant development industries. Contact us today for a consultation at www.permitadvisors.com.