Overcrowded Cities Mix Housing With Business


Land is growing scarcer and pricier in some of this country’s most sought-after cities, and more developers are responding by combining commercial and residential spaces.

In New York, for example, “it’s getting harder and harder to do office construction,” Seymour Durst, chief administrative officer of the Durst Organization, told The New York Times. “Housing is so much more valuable now; even in Midtown, it’s taking over.”

Though this trend isn’t exactly new, city planners are turning to developments in Asia as recent inspiration. Areas such as Tokyo have become a leader in mixed-use development. Three of Tokyo’s tallest towers, which all exceed 780 feet, feature shops and restaurants below condominiums and hotels.

The improving job market has created demand for new office space, but the sector isn’t able to keep up with the stronger demand for housing. So the two are combining forces. For example, a development in New York called Eos has 375 rental apartments as well as more than 122,000 square feet of office space and 49,000 square feet of retail space. Residents and workers have separate lobbies, elevators, and terraces. “The housing definitely makes the commercial more feasible,” says Durst.

Retirees are reportedly seeking out such developments. A Brookings Institution study found that walkable, mixed-use developments could even possibly help to reduce the effects of disabilities many face as they age.

Christopher Leinberger, a developer based in Washington, D.C. and a professor at the George Washington University School of Business, told The New York Times that some developers for retirement buildings are now looking for dense, urban or town-centered sites where services and social features are accessible.

“The model used to be to isolate old people on cul-de-sacs backing up to a golf course,” Leinberger says. “The new model just beginning to rise is for walkable urban places.”

Source: “Business and Housing Move in Together in Crowded Cities,” The New York Times (Oct. 18, 2016) and “The Future of Retirement Communities: Walkable and Urban,” The New York Times (Oct. 14, 2016)

Source: NAR – Real Estate News
Overcrowded Cities Mix Housing With Business

Photo Credit: La Citta Vita via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0