Benefits of Mixed-Use Development in Buffalo

Contributed by Denise Juron-Borgese, Vice President of Development & Planning, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

It’s one thing to bring a community to life. It’s an entirely different thing to bring life to a community. At Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, our team injects life into the communities we serve with new and revitalized spaces that add value for everyone. While we have experienced success in many different areas of development and redevelopment, Ciminelli has always valued creating mixed-use development in Buffalo because of its ability to strengthen community ties, make commutes easier, and give businesses a prime location for success.

What is Mixed-Use Development?

Mixed-use development is development that successfully blends various forms of uses, such as residential, commercial, and retail. By incorporating residential real estate and commercial real estate into a single project, mixed-use development brings together all elements of a neighborhood to make the most of the space that is available. These developments are often described as a Live-Work-Play community, where tenants, visitors, and neighbors can enjoy all aspects of life within the outline of the community, and really get to know their neighbors. Your “neighbor” is not only the person who lives next door. Your neighbor may also be the business owner who opened a shop in your building, or the barista on the corner of your street. Mixed-use development connects the community by creating an environment that supports every aspect of life.

Ciminelli’s most recent examples of mixed-use projects include The Sinclair, and The Mentholatum. There are variety of benefits that go hand-in-hand with mixed-use development, but here are few that the Ciminelli development team identified as their primary areas of focus:

Connected Neighborhood

With the rise of mixed-use development, comes an increase in the number of shared community spaces. These spaces include plazas, patios, community rooms, and fitness centers. Community spaces give all tenants of the building a place to meet neighbors and participate in building activities. A great example of this is at The Mentholatum, a residential mixed-use project located in the Niagara Street Corridor in Buffalo, NY. Not only does The Mentholatum have a larger lobby area to accommodate community events, but a back patio with grills and green space. This allows tenants to enjoy some fresh air, meet neighbors, and engage with the surrounding neighborhood, which leads to tenants feeling more connected and comfortable in their surroundings, strengthening of the community as a whole.

Increase in Walkability and Public Transportation

The rise of mixed-use development in Buffalo strengthens what residents of the area have known for years – that it takes 15 minutes to get anywhere in Buffalo. If you want to get to Canalside, The Buffalo Zoo, Larkin Square, or Delaware Park from anywhere in the City of Buffalo, it will take 15 minutes if not less. Mixed-use development is all about creating a tighter knit community and bringing multiple uses into a single, cohesive development. The goal of mixed-use projects is to provide people with all the uses they need, eliminating unnecessary, lengthy commutes.

Will Buffalo ever reach a point where cars will no longer be needed day-to-day? Probably not, and that is not uncommon among even bigger cities. But with the increase in street traffic that mixed-use development generates, such as walking, biking, and public transportation, Buffalo’s infrastructure continues to develop and improve for all modes of transportation. We see this happening around our residential mixed-use development, The Mentholatum, on Niagara Street in Buffalo. The “Niagara Street Now” Program, implemented by The City of Buffalo’s Department of Public Works and the Buffalo Sewer Authority, outlines a streetscape that incorporates all modes of transportation, while embracing the waterfront and celebrating Buffalo’s local culture. An increase in mixed-use buildings will add to the growing focus on the streetscapes of Buffalo.

Rise in Successful Businesses

Mixed-use real estate not only benefits the residents of Buffalo, but also the businesses. An increase in walkability in Buffalo means that there’s more foot traffic for commercial stores and restaurants. The neighbors and customers of these businesses are the people walking by every morning to get to work, stopping in to grab a coffee or bagel. These business owners become part of a lifestyle for the residents of the buildings they occupy; they enjoy interacting with them on an everyday basis. These constant interactions give businesses the opportunity to strengthen their brand image and appeal to their customers: the people that work and live right next door.

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