Aug 30, 2022 - Business

The mixed-use trend is here to stay

Illustration of an office cubicle with a roof like a house.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The popularity of mixed-use apartment buildings in Nashville is enduring.

  • A new report from RentCafe, a nationwide apartment-search website, found that 4,600 mixed-use apartments have been completed in Nashville from 2012-2021.
  • That accounts for nearly one in five units built in that timeframe, putting Nashville at the forefront of a national trend.

Why it matters: Rental communities that include residential, office and retail space gained a foothold in the last decade. The pandemic and the continued influx of residents moving to Nashville have amplified that dynamic.

Driving the news: The rise of mixed-use developments in Music City coincided with a broader population boom over the last decade.

  • Realtor Brad Copeland, the president-elect of Greater Nashville Realtors, tells Axios those kinds of developments are especially attractive to newcomers who want to get a sense of the city before buying a house.

The intrigue: Copeland says he expects more commercial real estate will be reimagined and transformed into mixed-use residential properties as employers' approach to office work continues to evolve.

  • "Building owners are going to be looking at ways to convert those properties into usable space again because we're not going to need the cubicles anymore," Copeland says.

State of play: Mixed-use residential plans are already proving popular for commercial real estate that needs a facelift. Copeland pointed to the old Macy's location at the RiverGate Mall, where developers want to pursue a project combining hundreds of residential units with retail and dining.

What's next: Copeland predicts major arteries like Dickerson Pike are ripe for projects like these.

  • "As people discover the convenience of the spokes of our wagon wheel that lead into downtown, we're going to see those corridors filled with mixed-use development."

Zoom out: The number of apartments in "live-work-play" buildings nationwide has quadrupled from 10 years ago, from 10,000 completed in 2012 to 43,700 in 2021, according to Yardi Matrix data.

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