Mixed-use developments had been the hot trend in commercial real estate for a number of years and was only getting hotter as the pandemic hit in early 2020. These walkable communities bring residential living and/or office space together with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues to create vibrant live-work-play environments. This urban redevelopment trend had gained steam for a number of years, spreading to suburban downtown areas as well.

Many mixed-use megaprojects around the US were already in the works at various stages of planning and construction as the pandemic spread around the globe during the last year. In Atlanta, one such project is Centennial Yards, the $5-billion facelift to an area locally referred to as “The Gulch”. This project will greatly increase the walkability of downtown Atlanta by connecting major attractions like State Farm Arena, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, CNN Center and Centennial Olympic Park with 15 blocks of mixed-use residential, retail, and office space.

This mammoth project was conceived and construction was well underway before the pandemic arrived and put the entire restaurant and entertainment industries on pause. Of course, a major driver for the popularity of these mixed-use developments are the food, sports, and entertainment options all within walking distance of your primary residence. It is not yet known how Covid-19 will affect the demand for these nightlife hotspots in the long-term, but it is definitely something that developers will have to consider as they push forward with the execution of their plans.

Adaptability in design to meet a variety of needs and demand is a big reason why mixed-use developments have taken off so rapidly in recent years. Developers, already locked into previously approved projects, are betting big on this adaptability feature to ensure that these remain financially viable projects for the foreseeable future. Defining the right mix of between residential and retail will be closely evaluated, and developers will have to make these decisions in real-time. 

There will undoubtedly be more focus on creating spaces that are healthier and safer. Healthy building standards will likely be introduced concentrating on the air we breathe in shared spaces. The incorporation of outside air will be a major part of future builds, bringing in fresh clean air and helping to dilute the passage of airborne contaminants.

As the years-long construction phase of the Centennial Yards project continues it will be interesting to see how the pandemic affects the end result of the project, and what choices the developers will make in both the mix of retail to residential of the overall project and in the new focus on building safe and healthy environments. 

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Whether you’re looking to lease, buy, or sell commercial property, now is still the time to do it in Atlanta. The Meridian Real Estate Group has been assisting commercial clients for well over a decade and would love the privilege of earning your business. Our goal is not just to help our clients with a transaction, but to support the building of financial legacies through real estate. Call us today at 678-631-1723 or visit us online at www.themeridianway.com. We look forward to serving you.

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