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Mixed-Use Real Estate Development Projects

Author: Joseph Jarjour

With urban densification and increased development of central areas, mixed-use and more sophisticated real estate projects have proliferated. These projects often meet the expectations, choices and demographic characteristics of the new generation of professionals. Therefore, in addition to considering economic returns, real estate developers must take into account the increasing connections between residential, commercial and office use, and the expectations regarding accessibility, connectivity between work and lifestyle, and environmental protection.

Promoters therefore have to show imagination and audacity in order for their projects to remain competitive and offer the characteristics sought. The possession and financing of projects often require more elaborate structures owing, in particular, to the integration of various uses and common services, and the presence of various partners, investors and operators, not to mention the lenders who finance these projects. In addition, planning and governance must allow for the necessary flexibility to adjust a project, for example, by proceeding in phases or modifying certain schedules, while ensuring the project’s viability and protecting its returns. These are major challenges that many players in the real estate sector have been able to successfully overcome.

As far as the government authorities are concerned, without sacrificing long-term vision and urban coherence, they must demonstrate their ability to adapt the regulatory framework and the decision-making process to complex and innovative projects that challenge some of the more traditional methods. In that context, zoning adjustments that may be required, public services, in particular public transportation, and the granting of the necessary permits and authorizations are all challenges that require close cooperation between developers and decision-makers. Political will favourable to responsible development is clearly a vital asset in this context.

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