SAN FRANCISCO—Developing a mixed-use property makes difficultsites feasible from a financial perspective. “It makes it moreattractive.” That is according to David Pierce,SVP of development at Inland American, during amixed-use panel at PCBC. He pointed out thatretail, even if a minor component at the property can bring 30% ofthe income on the site making it worthwhile for a higher landcost.

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The panel, titled “Mixed-Use Means More Money,” was moderated byMike Kennedy, an SVP at AvisonYoung. When he asked panelists another benefit to havingmixed uses at multifamily properties, HalFairbanks, VP of acquisition at HRIProperties, said that having a mix of uses can also helpin community support for the project to actually get done. “Thereare a lot of market intangibles,” he said.

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“Tenants will pay more for unique properties,” said Fairbanks.“The mixed use helps us optimize the site.”

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John Orfield, principal at BOKAPowell, agreed, adding that “mixed spaces may retain realestate property values longer.” From a getting it approvedstandpoint, financing and equity and all that, he said, thelong-term viability of a deal is that is it a better place to live.“The residents are going to want to be there and help drive theretail,” he explained. “It is a great add for the retail to knowyou have the built in population.”

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But one of the things that Orfield's firm struggles with is therole of the retail development within a project and figuring outwhat it is going to be. “Setting up a retail environment that isconducive to the tenants you are targeting is key.”

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Pierce added that retail rightsizing is a big issue in InlandAmerican developments. “You really have to understand the market,”he said. “The biggest killer in a mixed-use deal is empty retail onthe ground floor… We are very careful in how we evaluate retailopportunities.”

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.