New Urbanism Building Properties
October 31, 2009
We’re headed toward a more compact urban lifestyle over the next couple of decades, and mixed-use development will be at the heart of that.” John McIlwain, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute says that the best type of building properties to invest in these days are ones where area residents can live, work and play. This trend is far from new, McIlwain says, as the first documented mixed-use buildings for sale date back to the 1950s urbanization. However, after the suburban exodus in the eighties, more and more people want to stay in their own town centers, rather than venturing downtown for all their commercial needs.
One group of people drawn to new urbanism properties are well-to-do baby boomers. They like the idea of comfortably aging in a resort-like setting, where they can do all their shopping, working and living in the same building. In Palm Beach, Florida, some luxury communities even incorporate fitness centers and Aveda spas into their beachfront condos. “We believe there is going to be a great demand right now for these properties,” says Creative Choice Group President Dilip Barot, who is working on just such a real estate investment property. “More affluent people are getting interested in wellness and there are more people willing to live this lifestyle.”
Analysts of new urbanism building properties have many thoughts about where the future of mixed-use commercial real estate investing will go. Some say that downtown cores will continue to borrow this structure to revitalize their aging infrastructure and abandoned parts of town into thriving community centers. Others believe that suburbia will begin to develop commercial hubs in the retail centers and anywhere surrounding public transit stations. Perhaps some malls, libraries and town halls will incorporate residential living space as well. It’s really up to the individual buying investment property to determine the demand in a particular community and step in with the right solution.
When you’re looking for building properties for your new urbanism project, consider old factories, warehouses, abandoned strip malls and beaten up apartments/condos. All these places can be purchased for low prices and transformed into an upscale community center. Choosing the right location is essential, so be sure you’re near transit hubs and other amenities. Attracting the right businesses into leasing with you will also be important, so you may want to meet with some prospective clients before you begin building to assess their needs and desires too. Creative real estate investing involves bringing all parties to the table — architects, urban planners, retail managers and community leaders, included.
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