Mixed Use Development: Overcoming Legal Challenges, Leveraging New Opportunities

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Course Materials


The mixed-use development trend continues to grow throughout the real estate industry. Because these efforts combine retail, commercial and residential development and construction, mixed-use projects face unique and complex design and building obstacles involving archaic regulations and laws.

How can builders and developers cope with conventional land use and zoning regulations written for single-use projects? What are the best practices for effective common community documentation that balance the wide variety of user needs and interests, some of which are at odds with each other?

Listen as our panel of real estate attorneys and a design professional discusses the principal legal challenges facing developers, builders and the mixed-use development team when undertaking mixed-use projects. The panel will provide practical strategies to overcome the legal hurdles in order to capitalize on the new opportunities of mixed-use development.



  1. Mixed-use development overview
    1. Definition of mixed-use development
    2. Examples of successful mixed-use projects
  2. Learning from success/designing good mixed-use projects
    1. Integration of uses (horizontally and vertically)
    2. Connections to adjacent development
    3. Other major urban design considerations (pedestrian access, streetscape and public realm, off-street parking, placemaking)
  3. Obtaining project entitlements
    1. Common local zoning and subdivision issues
    2. Other regulatory impediments to mixed use (highway access, traffic engineering, fire/safety codes)
    3. Gaining public acceptance; overcoming and managing potential opposition
    4. Strategies for partnering with local and state governments (provision of infrastructure, site assembly, and finance; LEED-ND certification)
  4. Common interest community issues
    1. Balancing commercial and residential interests
    2. Civic uses
    3. Design and architectural control
  5. Financing considerations
    1. Overview of factors in financing mixed use development
    2. Private financing structures
    3. Public-private financing
    4. Issues to monitor carefully


The panel reviewed these and other key questions: 

  • What legal issues must be considered when designing mixed-use development projects?
  • What are the common zoning and subdivision issues that developers and builders encounter when seeking project entitlements?
  • What are some effective strategies for partnering with local and state governments to build mixed-use projects?


Brian W. Blaesser
Brian W. Blaesser
Robinson & Cole

He heads the Land Use and Development Group in the Boston office, representing property owners, investors and...  |  Read More

Matthew J. Lawlor
Matthew J. Lawlor
Robinson & Cole

He represents developers, landowners, commercial landlords and tenants in matters involving mixed-use development;...  |  Read More

Doris S. Goldstein
Doris S. Goldstein

Doris S Goldstein

She represents developers of new urbanist communities, including architectural standards, commercial property sales and...  |  Read More

Gilbert A. Rosenthal
Gilbert A. Rosenthal
FAIA, LEED® AP, Principal
Wallace Roberts & Todd

He is a partner with an architecture, landscape architecture, and planning firm. He focuses on environmentally...  |  Read More