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Thread: Balance between commercial / residential land uses

  1. #1
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    Balance between commercial / residential land uses

    In our downtown we require commercial on the ground floor with residential above. A developer is challenging this, claiming that the commercial is being overbuilt as a result of our policy. So a few questions:

    How much residential is needed to support commercial/office? I know that it's impossible to give hard numbers without understanding our market, but any advice or resources would be appreciated.

    Beyond this economic response, what other responses might you suggest? Thanks -

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    You might suggest that the bottom floor be designed to convert to commercial--making it a flex space. Build in chases, fire separations, ADA, etc., but allow the bottom to function as residential. It can convert to commercial later when the time is right with minimal problems. We have a building in our downtown that has bottom floor units connected to the second floor unit above. Right now they function as larger residential spaces, but have all of the standards to convert to about ten live-work units.

    Ground floor residential is not necessarily a bad thing--most cities have downtown residential areas. If you're looking at this to be more permanent residential, elevate the front entrances to the ground floor units to create some separation between the public & private realm, as well as create some privacy for those ground floor units.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Allowing ground floor residential is anathema to activation.

    I think the question you need to address first is whether you really need activation in the location where you are being challenged. If you do, you need to explain why and explain how the street and other ground floor commercial/retail will suffer if you allow a gap to be created in the streetscape.

    If you don't know whether you need activation or don't have clear ideas on why you may be pursuing it in the location under debate, maybe the developer has a point.

    We require a minimum 30% of GFA in our contentious areas - that coincides with a building height limit of 4 floors. Thus allowing for ancillary residential on the ground floor. In our non-contentious areas, we require full activation of the ground frontages - usually much higher building heights permitted.

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    Thanks, that's helpful.

    Moving past the first floor residential concept, where can I find research into the amount of commercial that might be supported, given our catchment area of around 10,000 people. Thanks again -

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by lukathonic View post
    Thanks, that's helpful.

    Moving past the first floor residential concept, where can I find research into the amount of commercial that might be supported, given our catchment area of around 10,000 people. Thanks again -
    I posted something here. http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...483#post424483

    Although it is US, the same process would apply.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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