The Benefits of Retail Space in Mixed-Use Buildings

Our latest development to break ground, Optima Lakeview, is a mixed-use building that’s bringing in-demand and exciting retail space to the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Combining residential and retail into one building (earning the name “mixed-use”) is a time-old way to reap benefits for both residents and businesses alike. So what exactly are those benefits? 

Understanding Mixed-Use Buildings

For starters, let’s define what a mixed-use building is. A mixed-use building (MXD) is a building with three or more significantly-sized, revenue-producing businesses, whether those businesses are offices, retail stores, restaurants or other hospitality locales. The purpose of MXDs is to maximize the efficiency and value of a limited space, especially in urban areas, where space is in high demand. 

In addition to the underway Optima Lakeview, many other Optima projects are also mixed-use buildings. Optima Signature, our luxury condo community in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, features retail tenants such as Bedazzled Nail Salon, GoodVets Veterinarian Office, Egg Harbor Cafe, Guidepost Montessori School, Runaway Fitness and an interior connection to the Whole Foods nextdoor. 

Retail-space-filled plaza at Optima Signature
Retail-filled plaza at Optima Signature

Benefits of Retail Space 

Introducing mixed-use buildings into a neighborhood means retail space is closer than ever to residential. For residents, this translates into a more pedestrian-friendly experience: their needs are accessible and within walking distance. For the environment, increased walkability also means less pollution from transportation. And for business-owners, their storefronts gain increased exposure as people stroll by, leading to increased sales and success. Overall, mixed-use buildings lead to a stronger sense of community and better quality of life for both residents and businesses. 

At Optima, we make the most of our retail space by thoughtfully hand-selecting each business. Retail space in our residential buildings is yet another amenity that serves to enhance the lives not just of our own residents, but of the surrounding community, too.

The History of Transit-Oriented Developments

Our latest underway project, Optima Lakeview, is a transit-oriented development in the vibrant Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Unless you’re familiar with the world of urban planning, the term transit-oriented development may be unfamiliar to you. When it comes to city design, transit-oriented development is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport, including buses, trains or subways. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the history of transit-oriented developments within the United States, and how they’ve impacted cities across the country.

A Brief History

Although the concept of transit-oriented development (or TOD) wasn’t officially named until the 1990s, the pieces existed long before. After WWII, the mass production of automobiles allowed more people to move to the suburbs, and also created highly congested cities and roads. City planners and officials called for mass-transit use in urban areas, and federal funding was allocated to cities in need of new systems. New hubs of public transit were followed by housing and businesses, which helped create concentrated communities that benefited from the walkability. As urban planning grew and expanded as a practice, the term transit-oriented development was coined, and many cities and industry professionals have since spent time, resources and research to pinpoint how TODs lead to vibrant communities. 

The Impact of Transit-Oriented Developments

As an initial response to the increase in vehicles going in and out of cities, TODs have successfully reduced congestion in cities, and reaped the environmental benefits. With more commuters and residents taking trains, TODs create a sustainable alternative to getting around. Less cars create a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment, creating options for healthier lifestyles. And with more foot traffic, local businesses have a greater chance of thriving. 

Residential buildings play a huge part in creating transit-oriented communities. As a transit-oriented development, Optima Lakeview combines residential, commercial retail and leisure space, all within walking distance of an abundance of public transportation options. We’re thrilled to be part of the Lakeview community and to create a place where our residents can live, work and play. 

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