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Month: September 2019

Foot Traffic Ahead 2019 Report: The Rise of Walkable Urbanism

Market share of walkable urban places—also referred to as WalkUPs—in office, retail and multifamily product types is growing nationwide in all 30 of the largest U.S. metro areas, at the expense of drivable suburban. Real estate indicators such as rent premiums, absorption and untapped potential of suburban urbanization positively trend toward the continuation of walkable urban development.

The 2019 Foot Traffic Ahead report released by the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, in partnership with Cushman & Wakefield, provides key data and insights into this structural shift toward walkable urbanism and its future growth momentum.

Key takeaways include:

Office, retail and rental multifamily real estate in WalkUPs produces substantial rent premiums.
The disconnect between supply and demand of housing within city center WalkUPs has contributed to affordability and availability challenges.
Higher levels of walkable urbanism are positively correlated with increased educational attainment and economic vitality.
Both the private and public sectors should take note of the proven resilience of walkable urban product and plan accordingly.

 

From 19th Century Asylum to Recreational Hub

The South Carolina Lunatic Asylum opened in 1828 and discharged its last patient 160 years later. The institution, which sits on 181 acres, is now being converted into one of the largest mixed-use districts in the nation, with office, retail and multifamily components and a minor league baseball stadium. This is not the only redevelopment of an architecturally significant 19th century psychiatric institution in the U.S. Similar projects were undertaken in Michigan and Massachusetts over the past 15 years. The BullStreet District in Columbia, SC is an example of public/private cooperation that has steadily won over a public skeptical for cost and preservation reasons. It hasn’t been easy and it still has a long way to go, but the project is attracting tenants. It is a success story for Columbia and a model for other urban reconstruction projects.

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How Opportunity Zones and Co-Working Joined Forces

Federal tax incentives enacted back in late 2017 have spurred several Opportunity Zone projects across the county, helping turn areas of blight into areas of sight. Investments in these underserved areas are seeming a long-term play—due to a lengthy hold-period needed to realize such returns—yet they continue to draw interest across the real estate spectrum. In particular, coworking space in office development within these zones gives emerging companies the structure they need to thrive: suitable business terms, a place to lay their roots, chances to network and potential growth opportunities. But can the challenge of finding the right companies for these neighborhoods be overcome?

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