What’s a Mixed-Use Building & Should You Live in One

As more Americans move into urban areas, city planners have to get inventive to accommodate them. One solution that’s becoming increasingly popular is mixed-use developments. But just because this is a favorable option for city planners doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for you. Learn what mixed-use buildings are and read up on the pros and cons of living above a cafe or other type of retail space!

Mixed-Use Development Definition

As the name implies, a mixed-use development serves multiple purposes. Often, such buildings offer both commercial and residential spaces for rent or sale.

Typically, the street-level spaces in mixed-use buildings are reserved for businesses such as restaurants, cafes, drugstores, and boutiques. Higher floors may feature office space, apartments, condos, and lofts.

We can expect more mixed-use developments to come about as more renters move into urban areas.

Is a Mixed-Use Building Right for Me?

Having apartments above retail stores and businesses sounds like a cool idea. Imagine living above a cafe—opening your window to the smell of fresh-baked pastries and steamy espresso! But before you get too excited (or hungry), consider whether living in a mixed-use building is right for you.

Here are several pros and cons to consider before signing a lease for an apartment in a mixed-use development.

Pro: Convenience

Living in a mixed-use building can offer remarkable convenience. Living above a cafe, for example, might help ease the stress of cooking all the time.

Con: Cost

Easy and quick access to cafes, coffee shops, boutiques, and more can offer incredible convenience. It can also serve up a temptation to overspend on non-essential items and dining options.

Pro: Walkability

Mixed-use apartment buildings are usually in densely-populated urban areas. Typically, such neighborhoods are better-suited for pedestrians and cyclists since food, entertainment, and recreational destinations are close to each other.

Con: Self-Containment

Having too many conveniences within the building may decrease your desire or need to get out and about. But being confined most of the time indoors isn’t good for your health—no matter how convenient it seems! Time Magazine reports that staying indoors for too long messes with your circadian rhythm, which can increase your risk for obesity, substance abuse, depression, and more.

Pro: Nightlife

Mixed-use buildings are usually in cities’ most-happening neighborhoods. And when the city’s top bars and clubs are within walking distance of your place, you can take part in every party! Plus, you can save yourself the stress (and cash) of designating a driver or hailing a ride. After all, when happy hour is at the bar downstairs, home is just an elevator ride away!

Con: Noise

Living above a cafe sounds great until you hear the sound of their open mic night on a Tuesday at 1 a.m. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure your mixed-use apartment building has strict rules in place concerning allowable noise levels coming from street-level tenants. Ask the property manager or leasing agent about vacancies in the higher-level apartments if you’re concerned about the noise. And if you find yourself waking up to the sound of the dive bar on the ground level, check out these ways to soundproof your apartment!

Mixed-Use Can Mean Great Fun

Mixed-use buildings offer tremendous potential for a fun and engaging lifestyle. However, they have their cons, too! But if the idea of living above a coffee shop or a retail store floats your boat, then ApartmentSearch can help you find the best apartment for your way of life.