This is a continuation of our comprehensive list of commercial building types. You can find part 1 and part 2 on our blog. If you are looking for information about residential facilities and offices, you will find it in part 1 of this series. If you are looking for a breakdown of the various types of retail and hotels, then part 2 is for you. This final section will be covering land, mixed use, and special purpose buildings. As consummately professional commercial contractors, we are here not just to construct high-quality buildings, but to provide you with as much information as we can.


Special purpose buildings

This, as you might imagine, is commercial property built for a single specific use. It varies greatly, as does the return on investment that each individual use of it provides. These properties are often referred to as “miscellaneous” as well as special purpose.

Strangely enough, this is often one of the harder parts of commercial property to define. Special purpose properties often have at least some overlap with more general properties as well. They may be combined with them, or found in the same areas. Examples of this can be a bar/marina, a movie theater in a mall, or a gas station on the same plot as a restaurant.

Here is a relatively comprehensive list of types of special purpose buildings/properties:

  • Amusement parks.
  • Assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
  • Bowling alleys and other specific sports locations. Archery and shooting ranges, golf courses, mini golf courses, football stadiums, arenas, pool halls, etc. This category also includes sports club locations, such as yacht and tennis clubs.
  • Breweries.
  • Car washes, car mechanics, and other properties for servicing vehicles, like bike or motorcycle repair shops. Included in this category are specialized service centers as well, such as transmission, brake, tire replacement centers, and more.
  • Cemeteries.
  • Cold storage (where more than 50% of the area is refrigerated or equipped for it).
  • Dormitories for universities, boarding schools and more.
  • Farms, both vegetable and animal. It also includes dairy, fur, and other less-common varieties of farms.
  • Gas stations.
  • Hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, urgent care, and other medical facilities.
  • Hotels and Motels (see part 2 of this article series for details/breakdowns of this type of property).
  • Landfills that don’t dispose of toxic waste. Some specialized landfills are government-controlled for disposal of especially hazardous materials (like nuclear or chemical waste), these specialized landfills are not commercial.
  • Marinas/commercial docks.
  • Mines, quarries, gravel pits, and oil wells.
  • Museums.
  • Parking lots and garages.
  • Railroads.
  • Religious facilities are considered commercial buildings in quite a few cases. They can be leased, rented, or bought at a profit to the landowner, making them technically commercial properties.
  • Schools, especially privately-owned and run places of learning. This includes many private K-12 schools as well as universities and colleges.
  • Storage/self-storage facilities.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Theaters
  • Transportation hubs, such as train stations and bus terminals.
  • Wineries

Obviously, the list is pretty long. There isn’t an efficient or effective way to mention every single type of special purpose commercial building, so we hope this gives you an idea of what they generally are. Basically, a special purpose building is one that performs a specific job, usually for profit.


Mixed Use

This is arguably the most-common type of non-residential commercial property. It’s not incredibly common for a single property to have only one type of activity. In fact, mixed use properties can be found just about everywhere.

A mixed use space is one that contains one or more type of commercial property. Think about retail centers. Often there will be a big anchor store, like a grocery store or home improvement center, surrounded by smaller businesses of all kinds. These range from massage parlors to restaurants to import/export shops. A hacienda that is part restaurant-part grocery store is an example of a commonly small, privately owned mixed use property. Big city high rises often have apartments, office buildings, and retail/convenience stores all in the same building.

Mixed use properties are known for their various benefits. They give people a place to spend time and get multiple things done, which creates a sense of community. These properties also encourage healthiness; mixed use properties are close-together, so people can walk or cycle from a retail location to a restaurant and then a theater. Successful real-world examples include The Wharf, in Washington D.C. and the Brickell City Center in Miami.

Next time you are out around town, just take a look and notice how many of the commercial buildings/properties are mixed use, you may be surprised.



Of course, in order to build any kind of commercial property, you need land first. Land is a riskier investment than most types of other property. Unlike housing for example, land isn’t guaranteed to improve in price. Even if it does, it doesn’t always cover the costs of taxes and upkeep that it requires. The returns on commercial land is based almost entirely on what the investor does with it. There are 3 types of commercial land.


Infill land

This is located in a city area that is now vacant, but was once developed.


Agricultural land

Also known as greenfield land, this is land without buildings to be used for farms, ranches, and general agriculture.


Brownfield land

These plots of land were once occupied by commercial buildings. They are now vacant. Often brownfield land has environmental regulations around it due to former commercial use. One can not use them for agricultural purposes.


Ready to build your commercial property?

If you’ve read all 3 of the writings in this commercial property series, you may feel like an expert. If so, it’s time to pull the trigger on getting your business idea up and running. Reliable Commercial Construction can help you reach your goal. We are a large, professional, and highly-experienced construction contractor team, with a strong portfolio and a desire to be the best. Talk to us today to find out how to get started on your commercial building.