Mixed Use Management

Posted by Stuart Prior

The rise in popularity in recent years of mixed used developments, with their complex legal and corporate structures paired with the complex building construction used; including various mechanical and engineering systems (such as security, parking, heating, lighting, etc.) – means that a wide range of skills are required in order to manage them effectively.  Many mixed use schemes tend to require property management solutions which are driven by regulations and the desire for reduced energy usage, as well as trying to offer a point of differentiation to other developments in the same marketplace, in order to attract buyers.

Having a development with a variety of tenure types would also strongly indicate that the management of that development needs to take into account the differing requirements and needs of each of the group’s resident within the development.  Residential owners will have different needs and desires than commercial tenants, and both tenant types have their own statutory regulations, which need to be followed and adhered too.

Some developments have tackled the complex issues thrown up by mixed usage by separating the management functions completely, but the Mainstay Group have found that the best value option would be to continue with a single management solution.   If there are multiple agents managing one development, the tendency can be for disputes over who is responsible for what to emerge – an annoyance which will be done away with, with the use of a single management solution.

Another issue for developers to be aware of is the length of time that a mixed use development may take to sell.  Developers are all too often now becoming landlords  – and this brings new and complex responsibilities too.  Understanding the complex issues brought about by having both residential and commercial tenants – including relevant legislation, is a very important skill for a successful building manager to hold, especially in the light of the importance of total transparency in all aspects of management which is so important to a lot of today’s tenants.

Mainstay Residential know that in order for any development to be a success it is very important to get the long-term management strategy to be right.  It is vitally important then, that a clear plan is agreed on as early in the development as possible – ideally before the first brick is even laid.  These plans must take into account the understanding that the period of ownership of a mixed use building is likely to get longer for the residential part, whilst commercial leases will get shorter.  So, a five-year or ten-year plan which presents the evidence of value for money, is a great way to show how well the building is managed, and, therefore, leave you in a better position to find buyers for any empty units within the building.