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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on April 10th, 2024

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The Art of Renovating Mixed Use Commercial Spaces

Commercial Remodeling

Mixed use commercial spaces fill a special role in many cities around Connecticut. They bring residential and commercial groups together into one building, creating a natural community in downtown areas. Mixed use commercial spaces are good for businesses and good for a healthy, thriving city. If you're an investor hoping to get involved in mixed use commercial space, there's much to know about renovating and modernizing these spaces.

This article will go over some of the steps and processes. Aligning yourself with a capable and experienced commercial contractor is critical. Working with the right professional, you can enjoy a more efficient and satisfying renovation process. It's also helpful to have some knowledge of the renovation process before getting started. In this article, we'll go over some of the most important steps.  


What Is a Mixed Use Commercial Space?

A mixed use commercial space is a building that combines industrial, retail or other commercial space with residential space. Mixed use spaces are popular among real estate investors because mixed use spaces spread risk. Mixed use spaces can be used for different purposes over time as old businesses move out and new businesses take their place. 

What to Know About the Renovation Process

Often, when a new investor takes over an empty mixed use space, it's important to renovate before finding new tenants. When a new tenant is found, further renovation may be necessary to customize the space to the business's needs. 

Assemble the Right Team

Most commercial spaces in Connecticut require an architect during the renovation process. You'll need a commercial construction firm and an architect to complete your renovations. Often, the professional you choose first can help you find the rest of your team. Your contractor, for example, will have worked with architects before and can refer an architect with relevant experience for your project.  

Zoning and Building Permission

When renovating a mixed use space, you'll need to get permission from your town's Zoning and Building Departments. The Zoning Department will assess your plans to ensure that your renovations are permissible in the location you're renovating. Once the work is under way, your Building Department will ensure that the work is permitted and performed to code.  

Get An Assessment

As a part of the permitting process, you'll be required to pay for an assessment of the property. This assessment will identify problems that need to be remediated and will help your architect with the design process. The assessment is required by the Building Department, but will be performed by an outside third party. Once the assessment is performed, this work will be wrapped up into the plans that are on file with the permit. 

Lead-based paint and asbestos are concerns with older buildings. Testing may be required to identify which building materials and fixtures contain hazardous substances. Once the assessment is performed, plans for remediation or containment will be included in your design.

Public Meeting 

Before the renovation can move forward, a public hearing is required as a part of the zoning application. Everyone in the neighborhood within a certain distance of the property will be notified of the meeting. This allows anyone from the neighborhood (or anyone from the community) to raise their concerns about your building project. Before the project can move forward, the application must be approved in the public meeting. 

Parking Concerns

Not all mixed use businesses have a private lot for customers or residents, but every building must have a plan in place for parking, and a certain number of spaces must be available for each activity. If you have a private parking lot, work with your contractor to create a plan for compliant parking spot placement. 

Find the Right Contractor

Finding the right contractor is an involved process, beginning with vetting contractors in your area. 

Know Your Goals

Know what you hope to accomplish by remodeling before you start meeting with contractors. Knowing your goals makes it easier to have conversations with contractors, and ultimately that makes it easier to find the right contractor for your job. Once you do find the right contractor, knowing what you want also makes it easier to finish your project on time and without going over budget. 

Shop Around

Once you're ready to have conversations about your goals, it's time to shop around for a contractor. You can find contractors through local associations, referrals and through online searches. Regardless of the means that you used to find the contractor, it's still important to vet that contractor. Plan to meet with them in person to get the job done. 

Review Portfolios

Every contractor should have a portfolio of work. Plan to review portfolios to assess the capability, quality and style of each particular contractor. Some contractors have their portfolio online, others don't. Ask each contractor how you can view photos of their recent work that is comparable to your particular project. If a contractor hasn't worked on a mixed use project before, you may need to move on to another contractor with more relevant experience. 

Have a List of Questions

Have a list of questions ready for conversations with contractors, so that each conversation with potential contractors is productive and helps you find the right contractor for your project. 

Check References

Be ready to check references before signing a contract. Ensure the contractor you choose has happy customers in their past who will vouch for that contractor's quality and workmanship.

Download Our Free Guide

Make your commercial mixed-use construction project a success. For more help finding the right builder for your project, download the Litchfield Builder free guide to finding a contractor in Connecticut.  

How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.