What is the American variant for a "tower block". A "tower block" may contain both residential apartments and offices in the same building. I have heard the terms like "apartment buildings", residential buildings", "apartment towers", "residential towers", "apartment blocks". But I think they all refer to buildings that contain only residential apartments and provide no space for commercial activities, correct me if I am wrong.

Let me tell you in Pakistan "commercial plaza" is a more common term for buildings that are used exclusively for business or commercial activities and not for residential purpose. Okay, let's just get back to the main topic I am looking for the exact term used in North America for a such a building that provide space for both residential and commercial purposes just as "tower block" a term used in British English.

Some people suggest "Skyscraper" is more common in the US but Skyscraper is a building with more than 50 floors and there could be buildings with less than 50 floors that offer space for both residential and commercial purposes at the same time in the same building. I am looking for what these buildings are called in the USA and Canada.

  • 1
    Would the Trump Tower be close to your idea of "tower block"? Trump Tower is a 58-story, 664-foot-high (202 m) mixed-use skyscraper. Despite being located in one of Midtown Manhattan's special zoning districts, the tower was approved because it was built as a mixed-use development. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Tower
    – user66974
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:12
  • Interesting that plaza refers to a building. Is that right? I've only seen it refer to the city square around which such buildings are placed.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:17
  • Yes, in Pakistan we have "commercial plazas" either short, mid-sized, or tall buildings with shops, offices for business and commercial activities and we also have "residential plazas", we also call them "residential towers" in Pakistan that are made up of apartments where people live with no offices and shops are located in them. And there are also such plazas or towers that offer both commercial activities and residential space. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:20
  • Yeah Josh Trump Tower in Manhattan is a skyscraper having 58 floors. I already know about that. So does it mean that you call such buildings "towers" in the US. just towers? Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:27
  • 1
    Actually, "skyscraper" was first used on buildings much shorter than 50 floors. It's all relative.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:40

2 Answers 2


If you just want the name in AmE for a tall building that's not necessarily as tall as a skyscraper, and can be either residential or commercial or both, try high-rise.

American Heritage dictionary defines high-rise as "a tall building that is equipped with elevators and usually has at least six stories."

If you want a single word meaning a mixed-use high-rise, I don't know whether there is one.

  • What about multifunction block/tower/building does that term exists? I don't have time to do any research.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 12:04
  • We don't generally call tall buildings blocks or towers here. But I'm not sure about whether mixed-use or multifunction is more common for this sense. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 12:08
  • Yep, I was just coming back to suggest "high-rise".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 18:43

Not sure what you are looking for, anyway the following extract may be of help:

Mixed-use development is a type of urban development that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or industrial uses, where those functions are physically and functionally integrated, and that provides pedestrian connections.

Mixed-use development can take the form of a single building, a city block, or entire neighbourhoods. The term may also be used more specifically to refer to a mixed-use real estate development project—a building, complex of buildings, or district of a town or city that is developed for mixed-use by a private developer, (quasi-) governmental agency, or a combination thereof.


enter image description here From: dreamandhustle.com

  • @Mari-LouA - apparently the mixed-use definition is relatively common.books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – user66974
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 13:44

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