A New Life in Commercial Real Estate – Adaptive Reuse

Contributed by Sydney Kania, Assistant Property Manager at Ciminelli Real Estate Services of Florida

Adaptive reuse is a relatively new trend in real estate that has begun to boom in recent years. It is the process of renovating a building and giving it a new purpose. We have seen quite a few adaptive reuse projects popping up in Tampa, FL over the past decade.

There are many factors that have driven this concept, including a decline in space to build, the location of previously occupied (now vacant) buildings, and the demand for sustainability. A major project that utilizes this new real estate trend includes Rithm at Uptown — the redevelopment of the University Mall.

Like many malls, the University Mall had become desolate. In the wake of e-commerce, many retailers have struggled to keep their doors open. This has caused mass vacancies in malls across America. The vision for Rithm at Uptown is to create a lifestyle center for both residents and visitors alike. It is expected to exceed seven million square feet, making it potentially the largest mixed use space in the state.

This new development project is set to include several thousand residential units, and will include retail as well as office space. The vision is to curate a hub for creativity through a living, learning community located just on the outskirts of University of South Florida’s campus. This is a win for Tampa, as the city transforms into a center for research and innovation. Once completed, the old mall will become almost a “mini-city”, where residents can live, shop, eat, and work under one roof.

Adaptive reuse spaces, while eye catching and complex, pose a challenge to property managers — particularly with projects like Rithm at Uptown. With several different property types encompassing a single venture, property managers will need to think outside the box to effectively meet the needs of the vastly different tenants. Even prior to mixed use spaces like these lifestyle centers, there was no cookie cutter format to property management. With retail, office space, and residential units under one umbrella, managers will need to evaluate the exceedingly different needs of each tenant individually. Property management teams with versatile management philosophies will flourish working on adaptive reuse projects.

This is the first of many projects to transform old, outdated malls in the area. One thing for certain is that adaptive reuse projects are here to stay. We will just have to wait and see what becomes of the WestShore Mall, and the Citrus Park Mall. The Renaissance is just beginning.

Ciminelli Real Estate’s Property Management Services:
Property management represents the core of Ciminelli’s business. To us, effective property management is not just about maintenance – it’s about identifying efficiencies and capitalizing on them to provide economic benefits to the owner clients, especially in this versatile market. We strive for excellence and would love to discuss how our fully accredited team can provide personalized service and value to you and your asset among the ever changing market.


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