Trends in Urban Renewal and Adaptive Reuse Projects

by  | February 28, 2019 | News |

There’s something timeless and eternal about stories of renewal and rebirth. Interest in beautification projects of aging city infrastructure and transforming blighted, long-abandoned properties into vibrant residential and commercial properties has reached new highs, as forward-thinking and community-minded developers are breathing new life into post-industrial city centers and helping restore some of their former glory.

Here in Pennsylvania, many small towns and cities were built on manufacturing. However, as companies shifted operations, properties they once occupied were abandoned and local communities have struggled to restore and reuse the structures.

As Mowery partners with developers on urban renewal and reuse projects, the following are some of the emerging trends affecting the construction industry at large.

Adaptive Reuse

Vacant buildings need a new purpose and developers are shifting their attention to existing structures in prime real estate locations (like urban centers) when sites for new construction are unavailable. Rather than demolishing old structures and starting new, adaptive reuse takes a more sustainable approach to development by reusing what already exists and sometimes, saving what could be considered historical landmarks.

Mall Configuration

As eCommerce continues to dominate buying habits, traditional retail spaces like found in shopping malls are closing leaving massive square-footage unoccupied. As part of the larger trend of adaptive reuse, mall reconfiguration has given libraries, medical centers and even schools new homes. Locally, unused space at the York Galleria Mall in York, PA has found new life with Gold’s Gym and is also being considered as an entertainment venue as an example.

In addition, these unused, vacant spaces that formerly housed department stores and other retailers have been used for seasonal pop-up shops and marketplaces. Their location in high-traffic areas makes them particularly appealing for this kind of adaptive reuse.

Mixed-Use Properties in Urban Centers

One of the more common types of urban renewal projects is mixed-use. Mixed-use includes adapting former commercial office space into luxury apartments, retail locations as well as cultural amenities. These spaces attract those interested in downtown living and the ease and accessibility it brings. Former factory spaces are transformed into residential and commercial mixed-use spaces and help further economic development efforts.

Living Infrastructure

Beautification projects are also a focus and priority. These projects include establishing community green spaces, turning under-utilized side streets into pop-up social spaces, planting trees to aid in stormwater runoff and creating parks from unused parcels of lands are all part of a larger trend to rejuvenate the concrete jungle of cities into more vibrant, exciting places to live, work and play.

Reimagining what a building can be is one of our team’s passions. To learn more about Mowery’s urban renewal capabilities, please visit the Urban Renewal Market page on our website or contact us today.