In Fort Worth, TX "flexibility in mixed-use infill projects requires design for multiple uses"

From Urban Land writer Will Macht: "Large-scale infill developments outside the downtown core often can be insular and inward looking, akin to a suburban retail center.  It would have been easy to follow such an inward-oriented pattern on an 11-acre (4.5 ha) site assembled in the Fort Worth, Texas, cultural district.  But Museum Place, a 1.05 million-square-foot (103,000 sq m) development, is designed to knit 11 new structures into a finer-grained urban fabric of streets that once housed an active mix of shops, restaurants, and community services. "Including flexibility in mixed-use urban infill projects built in phases in challenging markets requires creative responses to building design for multiple uses, functional urban street layouts, and solutions allowing shared parking.  To create a framework for a mixture of uses that could be developed in phases, Dallas-based JHP Architecture/Urban Design reinforced the historic street pattern and restored it to its orthogonal form.

"Rather than being built at the periphery and focused inward on a center court, the parking structures were integrated into the centers of blocks and wrapped with housing, retail space, and offices.  This is different from what is often the case in mixed-use projects: parking is often placed under buildings, driving the configuration of the uses above because the layout of columns and drive aisles cannot be changed.

"At One Museum Place, a mixed-use building, the architects and structural engineers created an optimal depth for a condominium unit by setting one column each at the exterior and at the corridor.  Cantilevered balconies on the facade project over the depth of the office floor plate below, a solution that permitted the design firm to pull the column back behind the glass on the retail level.  It also gave the developer the flexibility to respond to market changes by switching uses in the upper seven floors until late in the construction-document phase and beyond.

"Flexibility to deal with the weak economy is also built into the retail space. Should the space not lease as expected, its double-height spaces allow the addition of mezzanines to create live/work units, with ample light and air provided by tall windows. Or it could be configured to provide more office space to enlarge net rentable space, increase income, and reduce effective rent per square foot."  Full article here.