The new big thing in real estate development is walkable, mixed use neighborhoods. Obviously this is the model of real estate development when neighborhoods were allowed to grow organically. People tend to enjoy living nearer to the shops they patronize and the offices they work in, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that this would work. Esther Fung reports:
Despite a glut in U.S. retail space, some developers are building more, just not in the form of malls but alongside new homes in smaller chunks than before.
The target clientele: younger and even some older Americans who are looking for cheaper housing in the suburbs but favor areas with urban trappings such as restaurants, offices and shops.
These projects, often joint ventures between a housing developer and a developer with retail expertise, are sprouting up around the U.S., especially in Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona. The focus is on a design that is pedestrian-centric, where residents would have to walk only short distances to get to the grocery store, shops or the gym.
“The single biggest change is walkability,” said Steve Patterson, chief executive of Miami-based developer Related Development LLC. Close proximity to schools, transportation and shops is important even for suburban projects, he said, as the love for cars dissipates a bit. Early this year, Related Development opened a mixed-use project in Doral, Fla., that included 250,000 square feet of retail space and 700 residences.
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