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CORFAC Members Believe Multiuse Developments Are The Foundation For Collaborative Success


Even before the pandemic-driven disruptions, single-use office headquarters and big corporate campuses were becoming outdated as the way people work, live and socialize evolved. Today, the lines between work and home life have further blurred after 18 months of work-from-home routines, and greater job mobility has given people new options of where to live and work. 

At the same time, local service economies have been suffering as people continue to steer clear of the office and, as a result, the nearby shops and restaurants that once relied on office workers for their business. To bring people back together and invigorate these businesses, Joseph Latina, president of CORFAC International and principal at Patterson-Woods Commercial Properties/CORFAC International in Wilmington, Delaware, said it is time to invest in multiuse developments. These can offer modern workplaces, restaurants, retail, entertainment and green space all on one campus, taking the place of underused or out-of-use campuses and land parcels. 

Latina is involved with multiuse developments in Delaware, including a 60-acre parcel in Middletown where his firm was able to bring in three different developers to create 275 apartments, a 56K SF shopping center, several retail sites and a hotel. He credited favorable zoning and a cooperative mayor and city council with ushering the development to fruition. 

“These types of developments often create their own demographics or enhance the existing demographics by creating more clientele in a condensed area,” he said. “Developers are able to maximize their development of a property by going vertical and diversifying with many different categories of uses, thereby mitigating their risk.”

These strategies are also being used in overseas markets, according to Daniel Shindleman, president at Bridgemer AG/CORFAC International in Switzerland. While large headquarters once signified prestige and efficiency for corporate executives, modern employers and employees want access to more off-property amenities.  

Shindleman pointed to SihlCity in Zurich, Switzerland, as an example of this emerging trend. SihlCity is a megadevelopment that includes offices, retail, restaurants, movie theaters, open spaces, community gathering points and other services. Housing and sports arenas immediately surround the site and dedicated transit lines serve the development. 

Shindleman explained his key criteria for a successful multiuse development.

“It is liveable, it is walkable,” he said. “Public transit is safe and reliable. It is accessible. It is where ideas, as well as where goods and services, are exchanged. It is where relationships are created and developed, personally and economically.”

In Düsseldorf, Germany, Aengevelt Immobilien/CORFAC International worked with stakeholders including the municipal government, municipal users, the building authority and tenant representatives to convert a former single-tenant complex into a multipurpose city complex with 30K square meters of rental space, 350 parking spaces and a construction reserve of another 15K square meters at Dusseldorf’s main train station. New tenants include Düsseldorf’s central library, parts of the school administration and the city archive, the Forum Freies Theater, a DHL parcel station and the food discounter Lidl. 

Max Aengevelt, principal at Aengevelt Immobilien, said the multiuse approach offers benefits for tenants — including an efficient and customer-friendly location with easy transit access and rightsized leases — as well as benefits for owners who achieve a sustainable investment with the flexibility to lease to multiple categories of tenants.

Back in the U.S., Scott Shanks, principal at Reno, Nevada-based Dickson Commercial Group/CORFAC International, was involved in the sale of a nearly 192K SF building on 10.2 acres of land. What was once a Loews Hotel and then a regional hospital is now being developed into flex, retail, office, warehouse and co-lab space. He explained that local density and demographics are key considerations when tackling a rezoning and redevelopment project of this type. 

No matter the location, CORFAC International’s commercial real estate brokers point to the need for amenable zoning policies for projects like this to move forward. Developers and brokers, the experts said, must be prepared to work closely with public officials to show the potential value of multiuse development to speed up the process. The faster approvals happen, the sooner that tenants can move in and get to work on creating a vibrant, new destination for workers and visitors. 

This article was produced in collaboration between CORFAC International and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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