by Nolan Previte
One trend EBI Consulting expects to see continue in 2020 is one of building community. Though technology has us more connected than ever, studies have shown many of us feel less connected to those around us. The CRE industry has already begun using a number of tactics to build community back into our communities.
Placemaking: Increasingly, developers are finding that a key component of their success is to incorporate not just a work/play/live concept into their designs, but to more thoroughly understand the local community, its needs, and how it currently uses its space. Finding creative ways to meet community needs with design of public spaces, and thoughtful incorporation of retail, office, and other components that best fit the community, goes a long way to ensuring the long-term profitability of a development.
Main Street Revitalization: Along similar lines to placemaking, main street revitalization has played a major role for CRE. Urban sprawl continues, and towns and cities just outside major metros are seeing increases in population as more cost-conscious millennials move into “hipsterbia,” a phenomenon observed by Urban Land Institute. Millennials look for the walkability and convenience of urban living, but with suburban amenities – particularly the lower costs of suburban living. As these cities and towns build in population, the most successful ones are simultaneously updating their main streets to appeal to these pseudo-city folks.
Innovative Multifamily Design: Multifamily has been a cornerstone of successful CRE since before the Great Recession, but in the aftermath, it has become even more crucial. Yet apartment living can be isolating, so companies like Common and Kin are combating that isolation. The strategies can vary, but often include working with existing property owners to develop a programmatic approach to community building, or they may look to incorporate community into the design of the complex. One example coming soon to the Boston area is designed as an elevated version of dorm-style living, with shared common spaces, but dedicated bedrooms and bathrooms for each tenant.
As CRE moves into a new decade, we expect to see these trends continue to shape the way we all use real estate in the future.
Nolan Previte is president of EBI Consulting.