9: Organic Growth Cities

THIS WAS OUR 2018 TREND FORECAST: States, cities and towns that develop new economic models to promote themselves as tourist destinations, attractive bedroom communities, or other niches can realize sustained population and economic growth.

Moreover, in a world saturated in corporate sameness – formulated music, art, entertainment, shopping and dining – the hometown touch that delivers products and services with home-style appeal and in authentic settings is an “Organic Growth Cities” trend you can bank on. 
MID-YEAR UPDATE: Our “Organic Growth Cities” trend is building momentum in 2018 as investment in revitalizing former industrial cities and towns, especially those close to metropolitan areas, increases.

As shopping malls shutter in the suburbs and exurbs, and big boxes close, town centers are once again in vogue. Shops, businesses and services are returning to Main Street.

And the appeal of 100-year old architecture and construction quality, as well as location and surrounding natural resources, is proving a hot sell in commercial and residential markets worldwide.

Old industrial cities are enjoying a renaissance as they exploit their organic assets: Lower property costs, old-school style and architectural elegance compared to steel and glass building sameness, convenience and the need to take back a lost sense of community.

Abandoned mills and warehouses, with high vaulted ceilings, spacious rooms, unique layouts and a scent in the air of more vibrant, authentic times past are making these spaces attractive homes and work places, especially for millennials.

While 20-plus years ago, these structures and their communities were falling victim to “urban renewal” demolition, today regional investment groups across the country, Europe, Canada and elsewhere are investing billions in converting these spaces into livable, workable and durable communities.

Cities worldwide, especially those built in the nineteenth century during the Industrial Revolution, where manufacturing centers blossomed in regions rich in natural resources, ports, waterways and rail lines that were vital for production and distribution, are capitalizing on the “Organic Growth Cities” trend.

In 2018, the trend is strengthening, in large part, because these properties can be bought at reasonable prices, often qualify for historic and municipal tax incentives, are more cost effective than building anew ….and are more appealing than modern cookie-cutter construction.

Moreover, younger generations, who value sustainable living, products made locally, easy access to urban areas and more communal environments, are setting up shop in these communities worldwide.

Because this segment of commercial/residential development crosses over several categories, it is difficult to quantify overall growth rate numbers.

However, Deloitte, the National Realtor Association, CoStar, Forbes Magazine, Financial Times and Globe Street, etc., consistently cite the revitalization of the “Organic City” trend.

Texas-based Worth Commercial Real Estate, for example, has also acknowledged this trend, stating: “Although many of these buildings have been vacant for years in some cities, there is a sudden, renewed interest in old factory and industrial-type buildings and have an unexpected audience.”

While the factories have closed and the Main Streets were beaten down, what has been left behind is now being both valued and restored by these new young up-and-comers who value locations within striking distance of airports, urban centers and major cities. They are attracted to these rich-history cities with magnificent buildings and desirable natural surroundings.

What makes these cities organic is that they are growing naturally without relying on industries, resources or transportation hubs to support them.

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