Over the last few years, mixed-use megaprojects were seeing something of a boom. All-in-one commercial and living complexes are growing in popularity in urban areas. These highly planned, walkable communities integrate residential, shopping, and nightlife to serve as entertainment and dining locations for local residents and a social destination.
“Mixed-use is one of the fastest-growing sectors of development in the U.S., and is a primary driver for today’s commercial design/build projects,” Barry Caylor, VP of business development at design-build construction company OTL, told GlobeSt.com. “A 2017 NAR study revealed that the majority of Americans—53%—prefer to live in walkable communities.”
Megaprojects, in general, have been on the rise. An FMI report, found that the annual value of megaproject starts in the U.S. grew from 3% in 2013, to 33% in 2018.
Of course, all of these numbers were taken before the pandemic. While it’s not yet known how Covid-19 will impact the public’s appetite to visit crowded bars and entertainment venues in the long term, several pre-COVID, billion-dollar-plus mixed-use megaprojects are pushing ahead. Here’s a look at five of the biggest mixed-use megaprojects underway.
1. Vista Tower, Chicago
At $1 billion, 101-story Vista Tower places as the least expensive on this list. It’s currently under construction, located where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan. Once completed, it will be the third-highest building in the Windy City. The Jeanne Gang-designed building will include 406 luxury condos situated above the 5-star Wanda Vista Hotel.
The 52,000 square-foot tower is being built as part of the Magellan Development Group’s waterfront Lakeshore East community. It will include a variety of restaurant options, lounges, and bars, as well as a day spa and fitness center. Much of the complex will be open to the public, but the tower’s 47th floor will serve as a resident-only gathering place housing wine tastings, golf simulator rooms, swimming pools, and more.
Construction started in Q3 of 2016 and is, for now, scheduled to be completed in 2020.
2. Centennial Yards, Atlanta
Centennial Yards, formerly known as “The Gulch,” is to be a $5 billion mixed-use development in the middle of downtown Atlanta. Spanning 15 blocks across 40 acres of land, the development will make downtown considerably more walkable. It’ll enable better pedestrian access to attractions like State Farm Arena, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, CNN Center and Centennial Olympic Park.
Once completed, the development will include hospitality and entertainment options, as well as residential, retail, and commercial office spaces. The developer, CIM Group, reportedly agreed to a community benefits program, including $28 million for affordable housing and $2 million for workforce development. CIM also committed to reserving 38% of construction contracts for the projects for minority and women-owned businesses.
Centennial Yards is slated to open the first wave of residential and commercial segments sometime in 2020.
3. Miami Worldcenter, Miami
Under construction in downtown Miami is the Miami Worldcenter, a mixed-use development featuring retail, hospitality, residential and commercial space, with plenty of open space in between. The 10-block development will eventually cover 25 acres of Miami’s Park West neighborhood, just south of downtown. The Worldcenter will include a 600,000 square foot convention center, large anchor storefronts, dining, and boutique shopping.
Taking advantage of Miami’s warm climate, the shopping and dining promenades will be mostly open-air. A proposed residential building, tentatively dubbed the Miami Worldcenter Signature Tower, could reach the maximum allowable building height of 749 feet, making it one of the tallest buildings in Miami. The planned hotel will have 1,800 rooms and will be located above the convention center. The estimated price tag for the development is $2 billion.
4. Related Santa Clara, Silicon Valley
In the heart of Silicon Valley, there is the 240-acre, $8 billion mixed-use development project known as Related Santa Clara. Once complete, the development will offer 9.2 million square feet of commercial retail, residential, hotel, and open space. This will include 440,000 square feet of office space, 21,400 square feet of retail, 29,600 square feet of food and beverage space, 700 hotel rooms, 1,680 apartments, and underground parking.
The City of Santa Clara, which has partnered with Related Companies on the project, approved the first phase to begin in May. However, the project’s initial timeline was to be delayed “at least a few months,” Silicon Valley Voice reported. While the second phase was approved soon thereafter, the Santa Clara planning commission expressed reservations about the project’s planned 5.7 million feet of office space since the pandemic is now motivating the workforce to move away from offices. As of now, Phase 1 is slated to be completed in mid-2023, while Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in mid-2021 and finish by late 2023 or early 2024.
5. Port Covington, Baltimore
Baltimore’s $5.5 billion mixed-use megaproject known as Port Covington is being pushed along by the development company owned by billionaire Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour. Construction on the 235-acre site started last May and is expected to run through at least part of 2021, according to Construction Dive. With plans to restore more than two miles of Baltimore’s waterfront, Port Covington will be the site of just under 338,000 total square feet of retail and over a million square feet each of office and residential space. Also included in the plan are 40 acres of parks and green space.
The 275,000 square-foot Rye Street Market, the project’s first official opening, is scheduled for sometime next year. It will include an open-air market with food halls, retail shopping, meeting space, and a rooftop event venue. The complex is partially open already, with Under Armour opening an office there last year.