This article is the first in a short series of articles examining multifamily trends from 2013 Characteristics of New Housing Units, the most recent of an annual series released by the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This report examines a variety of characteristics of completed housing, allowing us to identify long-term trends in multifamily development, with data available over a 20-year data period for some attributes.
One trend we have noticed is that multifamily for-rent developers are building fewer townhouses (multistory units with living space separated from bedrooms by stairs). We were surprised, however, by the fact that the ratio of garden/ranch units to townhouse units in 2013 was 49 to 1, as illustrated in the following graph:
Source: 2013 Characteristics of New Housing, US Census Bureau
“Mixed-use development” has become so overused as to have nearly lost its meaning. Put two disparate land uses side by side and, voila!, you have mixed-use development, regardless of whether those uses are complementary.
The Danter Company proposes a new term: integrated-use development.
Integrated-Use Development – a style of development where complementary uses are not simply planned and developed on adjacent parcels, but rather they are integrated into an attractive, unified whole with a communal identity in such a manner as to create premium value for all usage types.
Usage types in an integrated-use development might include residential, retail, restaurant/nightlife, entertainment and office. Residential development, if present, might occur over storefronts or in separate buildings with common exterior design standards providing a community identity for all uses. Although integrated-use development presents a prime opportunity to develop premium residential, residential is not absolutely necessary for a successful integrated-use development if planned with a variety of complementary uses that work together to provide an attractive destination for work and play.
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