Since the concept of a built-up space and shelter first arose within human communities and societies, it has had multiple purposes and functions. As construction techniques improved, the roles of a safe space designed for human habitation and interaction only increased. Indeed, if we look back through antiquity, we will find that even the first cities, the first agrarian communities and even the first villages all had a common multi-use space or structure that was used for varying purposes such as a healing space, a kitchen, a cohabitation residential area, or even a ceremonial gathering space.
Even though, today, we see more clearly defined roles for buildings constructed in urban areas in the United States, this was a relatively recent phenomenon. And as of the late 1990s, local state governments in the United States started to ease these restrictions to allow for buildings and urban spaces to have multiple roles. While the term mixed-use may sound unfamiliar, it is a very common aspect of the cities and communities we live in.
Before we get into retrofitting and conversions, let us first understand what a mixed-use building is and what a residential building is.
A mixed-use building is any building that provides different services within its confines. That is to say that it may provide housing for families and couples, office spaces and storefronts for commercial use and general parking. Typically, industrial and agricultural activities are kept separate from residential and commercial spaces for multiple reasons including safety, security and health guidelines.
A purely residential building is one that is solely focused on providing its tenants with habitation. Residential buildings include villas, single family homes, apartments, or community housing projects. These kinds of buildings are legally mandated to only provide housing.
There are other types of buildings as well such as Agricultural, Industrial, Government and Special Use. As their name implies, Agricultural, Industrial and Government buildings are properties that provide or that are involved in activities related to agriculture, industrial or factory processing and governance, respectively. Special Use buildings involve properties that have unique roles such as public libraries, places of religion, schools etc.
Throughout much of Europe, cities have expanded and grown around their city centre. The city centre acted as the central, multi-use zone, where residents and visitors could live, work and conduct business. In the United States however, zoning laws became strict after World War 2, and gradually became more relaxed by the mid 1990s. The segregation of residential and commercial was as stark as the segregation between residential and industrial & agricultural spaces.
Today, you find a lot more apartments and condominiums in cities like New York and Los Angeles, that also have a storefront on the 1st floor – an ideal example of how mixed-use buildings are becoming more common in American cities.
Before confirming that decision to remodel a part of your property for that exciting new store to open up, there are a few considerations to be made:
Your local government will have regulations set up surrounding the conversion of residential properties into mixed-use properties. It is important to understand these regulations and to be aware of them, as the conversion can result in a few key developments.
Depending on the type of property being refurbished and the budget available, there are two ways in which conversion of a purely residential building can work
Refurbishing or converting a residential property into a mixed-use property can quite clearly, be an expensive task. It is important therefore to ensure that any changes to a building do not in any way hinder or impact the property’s structural integrity or the overall design aesthetic. Many developers for this reason, hire structural engineers and architects as consultants before embarking on a project of this magnitude.
Converting a residential property into a mixed-use property can be cost intensive and tedious process, but the conversion also provides a lot of advantages such as lower average housing rates within the community, better access to amenities and necessities, more compact and cost effective development and a stronger sense of community identity.
If you’re committed and clear with your intent to move forward, it is best to take the advice of an engineering expert and a design expert before commencing a conversion project. If you live in California and you want to know how to go about this process, contact Design Everest. You’ll have access to the best structural engineers, architects and a dedicated project manager! Our team will help you navigate the process of transforming your property and your community and help you build a stronger and more resilient neighborhood.
Call us at 877-704-5687 to get a free consultation and learn more about mixed use buildings and how to convert your residential property into a mixed use one. We can have the experts on our team help you build your dream project!
Design Everest is OPEN! We work remotely and are fully committed to taking on and delivering projects.
Design Everest’s remote working model can safely take-up and deliver your projects within the current government guidelines on COVID-19 (a.k.a Coronavirus). This applies to many of our project scopes, including architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, and construction administration across California.
Design Everest is set up to remotely leverage digital platforms (virtual meetings, calls, emails etc.) in client-facing and internal operations. Over the years, we have advanced this ability to the extent that we can continue supporting new and existing clients across many of our projects. Even projects that need an on-site visit can be fulfilled safely via video calls or in-person visits, where permitted.
Note that the present government guidelines permit the delivery of essential services, including those related to construction.
YES, Design Everest's remote working model enables us to work safely with all clients, suppliers, industry partners, and internal staff as per government guidelines.
Design Everest can still support many of our types of projects (new or ongoing) safely. For example, new custom homes, accessory dwelling units, civil plans etc. We are committed to delivering these remotely and safely as per the current government guidelines. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable/unavailable, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you posted on it and try their best to keep your plans in-progress.
YES, our remote working model enables us to be fully committed to ongoing projects. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable, unavailable or unsafe, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you updated and try their best to keep your plans in-progress. If an on-site visit is not feasible via a video call, we will try our best to fulfill the visit safely, where permitted.
Some of our clients are already going ahead with their projects with us via video calls or virtual meetings. Your assigned Customer Success Manager or Project Manager is happy to help you with this, where needed.
There are multiple reasons for this. It's typical to plan the construction step in the summer. So, clients get started on the pre-construction steps (architecture, engineering, and construction admin) in winter or spring to stick to planned timelines.
Projects such as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Additions/Remodels enable clients to rent/resale and generate revenue. Meanwhile, many clients are concerned about protecting their families and businesses against earthquakes by retrofitting their homes and buildings. These are just a few of the various reasons why it’s still reasonable for clients to stick to their construction plans.
Feel free to phone us at (888) 311-3015 Alternatively, you may contact your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager directly via phone, email or virtual meetings.
To summarize, Design Everest is OPEN and able to serve new and existing clients, affiliates, suppliers, and industry partners.
Stay safe and rest assured that Design Everest can help you go ahead with your plans as per the recommended safety guidelines!