Tumbleweeds roll across the floors of malls nationwide, yet developers continue to construct more and more retail space. It seems counter-intuitive, but these new spaces are designed carefully, with built-in foot traffic to boot.
Welcome to the new walkable face of retail shopping. The target market: Millennials and Boomers, both looking for cheaper housing that’s still conveniently located for a quick stop at the market for a loaf of bread or a meet up with a friend at a nearby coffee shop.
Welcome to the New Walkable Neighborhoods
Walkable neighborhoods, focused on achieving high levels of walkability, are springing up all over. Developers are carefully planning joint real estate ventures between construction experts in both housing and retail sectors to bring walkable neighborhoods to more cities across the United States. As just one example, Transwestern Development Co. cleverly positioned a Fort Worth, Texas 375-unit residential complex right next door to a small retail development anchored by a Whole Foods, and that also includes restaurants like Piattello Italian Kitchen and Taco Diner.
These locations are convenient, they allow residents the pleasure of coming home and just being at home, even if they need groceries or dinner or to run other errands that happen to be in the buildings nearby. It’s no wonder they’re popping up everywhere – from Maryland to California.
An Old Idea Becomes New Again
The funny thing is that walkability isn’t really a new concept.
When cars weren’t as popular, neighborhoods often clustered around a small commercial sector. Otherwise, it was a long haul to get necessary supplies. As the auto industry made cars cheaper and more reliable, people could travel further in less time, so it was no big deal to be further from the town center. Eventually, commuting was second nature.
Now, younger workers are starting to reject the idea of owning a car, preferring instead to pay more to live close to their jobs. When they literally live in the same building as their office, they really can’t get any closer. And although these projects require massive amounts of planning to be successful, companies are showing that catering to the needs of a new generation can be both highly transformative and profitable.