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ARE MIXED USE DEVELOPMENTS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER?

An overwhelming majority of respondents to last week’s Quick Poll are in favor of mixed-use development, with 81% indicating it is “more important than ever” while the other 19% say they’re “not as practical in this economy.” John Crossman, president of Orlando-based Crossman & Co., will be actively involved in this week’s International Council of Shopping Centers Florida Conference in Kissimmee and gives his thoughts on the subject:

“I don’t think there’s any question, mixed-use development is the way you have to go. As we keep growing as a state, there’s more scarcity of land, which has forced us to go more vertical. If you go to any other markets that are bigger or more developed than ours, that’s the way they’ve gone.

“My favorite expression about mixed-use development is that it’s not for the faint of wallet. Mixed-use development is significantly harder than traditional development, and traditional development is pretty hard. It’s something people talk about a lot, yet it’s very difficult to pull those projects off.

“I see developments across Florida where parts of them are great and parts of them are screwed up. That has to do with the fact that the developer was stronger in one category than another, or didn’t partner well and tried to do everything themselves.

“To be able to classify a project as mixed use, I think you have to have three components. If you have an office building with retail in the ground floor, it’s still an office building.”

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