Association Insights Communication

Life as a Mixed-Use Community Manager

Working in a high-rise condominium is always an adventure. Walking in each morning and greeting the smiling face of your concierge is just the start of what will always be a different day. Whether you are handling resident’s party lounge reservations, balancing preventative maintenance schedules, paying bills, doing building walk-throughs and audits, meeting with Board Members, greeting residents as they return from trips interacting with the four legged residents in the lobby, or dealing with some unforeseen circumstance, there’s always something going on. Now add a hotel, parking garage, several restaurants, and other retail spaces, and you have a whole new world!

That’s the world of mixed use residential/retail associations. It starts with the residential association; from there a master association is formed and helps close the gap. With a representative from each entity, the master association helps to ensure that the residential life is not lost in the busy world of retail.

It is imperative that strong relationships are built between each entity to ensure all services are met. For example, the residential on-site engineer works closely with the hotel engineer. Maybe the two engineers schedule weekly meetings to walk shared spaces or share documents that successfully work for tracking day-to-day tasks for their entity. Either way, success in a multi-use environment starts with breaking down barriers and collaborating as a team.

Having shared common area elements and shared building mechanical systems is another challenge of a mixed use property. The community manager has to make sure that that the responsibilities of the building are being taken care of and maintenance items are not being missed. Accessibility to equipment for the responsibility parties is another function of how important good communication is to ensure that the building functions and runs smoothly. Shared items can include fire sprinkler systems, window washing, trash rooms or loading docks.

There are going to be times when conflict arises. If there has been a focus on relationships, this will help resolve these conflicts. What if your condominiums have balconies right above the restaurant’s outside patio? Did you think this could be a conflict? Let’s add a couple of gorgeous flowers in pots, on a balcony that the resident wants to keep watered. Not thinking about it, the resident accidentally gives the restaurant’s patrons a little shower while they eat.

If barriers are built, it may be difficult for the restaurant manager to approach the community association manager about this conflict. Not in this mixed-use world! The community association manager has a strong relationship with the restaurant manager and it’s no problem to approach them with the challenge. After some resident education, residents understand the concern and are happy to be gentle as they water their plants. Who’s to say they won’t one day be sitting on that patio enjoying a nice lunch?

You are all in it together. Everything you do, each day, can affect the other entity; working closely together will allow for overall success!


By Amy Kaplow, CMCA, AMS

Amy began her career in property management in 2013 and she has 3 ½ years of experience managing high rises. Amy holds her CMCA and AMS as well as an MBA in Marketing from Pace University. She has worked for First Service Residential since May 2018 when she took over management at 930 Rose. The property is part of the Pike & Rose Development in North Bethesda MD.

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