This week, the MBA Newslink published the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C.,’s findings from a survey of real estate economists. Overall, the consensus is that the recession caused by the pandemic will be short-lived and we may see an above-average GDP growth in 2021-2022. Some good news! Overall, the ULI Semi-Annual Real Estate Economic […]
As our digital footprint expands, so does our innate desire to connect with and be apart of a community. Much community starts with our living environment and how we are able to connect with those in close proximity, along with the neighborhood for which we inhabit.
As mixed use multi-family continues is growth across all markets in the US, developers and planners are thinking less about privacy and isolation, and more about connecting those that will life, work and play in the space. Along with how they will interact with the retail, restaurants and other “neighbors” within their ecosphere.
The Science Behind Lifestyle Amenities and Community Building
A recent blog featured on multifamilybiz.com by author Kerry Kirby, highlights this burgeoning trend and how it looks to affect not only developers, but commercial brokers looking to lease space and place clients in these new mixed use multi-family complexes.
Kirby highlights a social psychology phenomenon called the “propinquity effect”. Social psychologists theorize and tested the concept that physical space is the key to friendship formation as opposed to original thinking that values, opinions and beliefs were the key factors in friendship formation. As the author dives further into this concept, it’s clear that trends in more communal living spaces within a multi-family complex such as digital meet-up areas, living rooms, shared workspaces and other community building spaces are changing the way we build relationships and build community.
Putting it to Work
A great example of this lifestyle forward amenity offering is going up right in our own backyard in Kansas City, MO. The Opus Group is developing a lifestyle amenity rich luxury apartment living experience to the vibrant historic Westport area. Along with that luxury living experience, comes the opportunity for mixed use retail space marketed by Colliers International. Restaurants, retail shops and other neighborhood oriented business are being attracted to the lower levels of this complex. A welcome addition to the urban landscape.
UES Consulting Services, Inc is an environmental and engineering firm specializing in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, Phase II Subsurface Investigations and Property Condition Assessments for Commercial Real Estate transactions. We frequently research and write on trends, market updates, news and other happenings affecting our clients and partners in the commercial real estate industry.
First and foremost, what is the ADA?
It is the American Disabilities Act which pertains to all Commercial Real Estate transactions. The ADA defines disability as – “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” This Federal bill includes everything from how you can hire and fire to how you can enter a building.
So how do you avoid issues with the ADA on Retail Properties?
Reading below is a good start to gain intel on some crucial accessibility problems to avoid.
The American Disabilities Act appoints retail businesses as “places of public accommodation” so developers must provide access for people with disabilities when constructing new facilities. Every space is unique and has its own set of problems but there are more common issues that will be discussed below.
- Curb Ramps. Not up to standards curb ramps are very common. The property may have curb ramps but, unfortunately, often times they do not comply since they do not have regulation slopes, dimensions, or landings. ADA requires curb ramps along the accessible route which includes the path from parking spaces. Noticeable warnings are necessary in local jurisdictions and certain states. Design details for curb ramps encompass clear landings at the top of the ramp, appropriately flared sides, and maximum slopes.
- The Legend of The Grandfather Clause. This is a major misunderstanding about the ADA in general, not specific to retail properties. The ADA is federal law, not a building code. Properties built before 1991 are not excluded by a grandfather clause. The ADA regulates that tenants and building owners are required to constantly remove familiar barriers.
- No Entry from Public Sidewalks. Retail properties need to include at least one accessible route from public transportation stops, streets and sidewalks. It’s necessary for these accessible routes to include maximum slopes, proper head clearances, free from obstructions, and minimum dimensions. Retail properties also need to grant easy access from buildings that are on the same site.
- Parking. This area of compliancy is often times complicated. Common issues are unacceptable striping/identifications of the parking spaces and too few ADA spaces. ADA Standards are very stringent about the markings, size, parking identification of accessible parking spaces, the ground slope, free from obstructions, and has to be adequately conserved.
- Historically Significant Facilities. City governments usually believe they have no duty to change historically significant buildings and facilities to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
UES Consulting and our team of inspectors are well-versed in any needs related to Commercial Real Estate transactions. We’re aware how thorough and time-sensitive Phase I Environmental Site Assessments and Property Condition Assessments are and we can help the process run smoothly and close on time.
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