The phrase “mixed-use” has been around for a long time, but seems to be growing more prominent in conversations, news articles and online discussions each day. We’ve mentioned a few mixed-use projects in this news section in the past and have had many conversations in the office voicing different viewpoints and imagining possibilities for here in Mercer County.
We can point to a few examples of existing mixed-use environments in our backyard: downtown Princeton (Mercer Co, NJ) and Lambertville and New Hope (Hunterdon Co, NJ and Bucks Co, PA, respectively) that have been around for a long time and are very successful at being what mixed-use plans hope to be: any urban, suburban or village development (even a single building) that blends a combination of residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or industrial uses where those functions are physically and functionally integrated, and that provides pedestrian connections. Mixed-use has had a variety of exact definitions over the years and still gets used in different ways from time to time- if you are interested in digging a little deeper, this article provided by Placemakers is a good place to start to understand the nuances.
We recently attended the Princeton Chamber of Commerce’s REBA (Real Estate Business Alliance) breakfast event (Bringing Positive Change to the Princeton Region) that was centered around planning concepts that would attract millennials and empty nesters to the Princeton/Mercer region- in particular Trenton. The mixed-use concept was spoke about at length- looking at demographics and trends around the country for the targeted age groups and considering how to apply them to our backyard.
Here is an article about the sale of a long vacant building in Hightstown that hints that a mixed-use redevelopment may be in the cards. An article from earlier in the month follows the possible redevelopment of the Ocean Spray site in Bordentown into a possible “gateway into town” mixing loft style office space and possibly a brewery, yoga studio, etc.
What does this mean for the real estate landscape in Mercer County (commercial, residential, retail, industrial)? Do you see this type of project taking hold and changing our area? Or is this another fad that will pass?