Mixed-Use Design 2019: Hospitality-Driven, Sustainable

Kevin Newman of Newman Garrison + Partners reveals how a project can cater to the modern resident’s needs through sustainable architectural design and more.

Kevin Newman, Chairman & CEO, Newman Garrison + Partners. Image courtesy of Newman Garrison + Partners

Residents and their needs have changed dramatically in the past decade. Renters are not only looking to stay in live-work-play environments but also expressing their preference for unique amenities, hospitality-inspired designs and sustainable features.

In an interview with Multi-Housing News, Newman Garrison + Partners Chairman & CEO Kevin Newman, an architecture firm focused on high-density projects in urban communities, discusses the evolution of mixed-use developments and how they contributed to Los Angeles’ resurrection.

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Can you tell us about some of the unique amenities found in Newman Garrison + Partners’ portfolio?

Newman: While many residential mixed-use developments necessitate your basic common areas, our recent multifamily designs resemble more of a luxury hotel palette. These designs feature amenities such as a resident media lounge, a dramatic multi-story fitness and training gym with spin and yoga studios, a game room with a bar and an exclusive sky lounge that showcases views of the surrounding city.  

In addition to our interior designs, the exterior development often features an expansive outdoor, resort-style pool with lounge seating, fire pits and hammocks for relaxing. Beyond the implementation of amenities, several of our projects notably include hotel suite units, which are available to family and friends visiting the residential tenants.

How does sustainability play into the mixed-use space trend and why is this an important part of the business?

Newman: Sustainability has always played an important role in our business and design culture. Last year, we patented a sustainable architectural design concept, referred to as New Block. New Block is built entirely in Type V wood-frame construction that provides up to 24,000 square feet of usable open space—45 percent of which is park landscape—incorporating a sustainable live green roof system and providing an overall cost-effective solution for developers across the nation.

New Block proved to be a sustainable and affordable building concept that acts as a bridge between lower density three-story garden walk-up apartments and four-story over podium construction typologies—a concept that addresses the constraints surrounding the maximization of density while meeting the open space and sustainability requirements of smaller land sites at an affordable rate.

Our belief in smart density endorses the benefit of mixed-use development occurring the most around transit centers. As part of Los Angeles’ Green New Deal, a primary target is to ensure 57 percent of new housing units are built within 1,500 feet of transit by 2025 and 75 percent by 2035. 

What can you tell us about the evolution of mixed-use developments in the last few years?

Newman: Mixed-use developments have become both more sustainable and hospitality-driven in the last few years. Aside from creating more compact developments that offer live, work and retail spaces, many mixed-use developments now further promote sustainability by encouraging the community to walk, bike and take conveniently located public transportation from place to place. In turn, this reduces the need for auto use and lessens the harsh impact that automobiles have on the environment. 

In creating sustainable and compact developments that offer the community everything they realistically need (housing, office space, restaurants, fitness centers, etc.), the modern mixed-use development caters to the community similarly to the ways hotels and resorts do. This rising trend further encourages architects, builders and developers to approach their newest projects with a hospitality mindset that caters to varying needs.  

Tell us about the most complex mixed-use project you’ve worked on and what were the challenges you’ve come across while designing it.

Newman: We’re currently working on a group of five mixed-use projects in the Warner Center of Woodland Hills, Calif. Over the past couple of years, it’s been challenging to balance constraints surrounding zoning and planning, as well as the rise in construction costs with our design and development goals, which we work on collaboratively with our clients.

Successfully integrating design excellence and high-performance, while making lasting and meaningful contributions to communities are big priorities for us, and doing so can often take extended periods of time to meet the clients’ and county’s needs and requirements.

 In which way do your projects act as a catalyst for the revitalization of Los Angeles?

Newman: By creating more forward-thinking mixed-use developments that promote sustainability, well-being and a strong sense of community, Newman Garrison + Partners actively contributes to the real rejuvenation of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County as a whole.

How does a long-standing firm like Newman Garrison + Partners approach design in order to stay relevant?

Newman: We understand sensory experience and have achieved an award-filled portfolio by prioritizing client goals, incorporating market-driven influences and persistently applying deeper layers of experiential design expertise. Development strategy and technological innovation will continue to evolve and so does our inspiration to continually design environments for today’s desires with the future-proof resiliency of tomorrow’s dreams.

What are your company’s short- and long-term plans?

Newman: Looking at short term, we’re eager to continue collaborating on better livable and affordable community developments, as well as further advance the complex residential mixed-use product/planning with a deeper connection to commercial, retail and hospitality components.

In the long term, we look forward to maintaining open-minded awareness to the continuous influence and impact of technological advancement, social awareness and interaction. In doing so, we plan to extend our reach and participation on a national and international/multicultural basis.  

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