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New Urbanism Building Properties


Mixed-use building properties make for great commercial real estate investing opportunities these days. "Naperville, Illinois, is a good example of urban-type development in a suburban setting," says Robert Bach, senior VP of research and client services for Grubb & Ellis Co in Chicago. "Mixed use has a profound impact on the way cities are growing," he adds. "It represents more intelligent use of land, and traffic is worsening, so there's more acceptance by households and businesses to be located in mixed use." The predominant preference is to live, work and play all within a short radius to cut back on unfavorable commutes and driver frustration.

One group of people drawn to new urbanism properties are well-to-do baby boomers. They like the idea of comfortably aging in a resort-like setting, where they can do all their shopping, working and living in the same building. In Palm Beach, Florida, some luxury communities even incorporate fitness centers and Aveda spas into their beachfront condos. "We believe there is going to be a great demand right now for these properties," says Creative Choice Group President Dilip Barot, who is working on just such a real estate investment property. "More affluent people are getting interested in wellness and there are more people willing to live this lifestyle."

In many pockets of downtown, mixed-use building properties are replacing old factories, dated apartment complexes, senior living centers and abandoned shopping malls. Experts from the Urban Land Institute posit that nearly all modern urban renewal projects involve a combination of different amenities all in one convenient venue. "It represents an efficient use of space and attractive development if you're trying to bring people back to older parts of the city," explains John McIlwain of the Urban Land Institute. City planners like these projects because they reduce the need for fuel consumption and encourage walking, which is something many Americans are conscientious about these days. As a result, many investors are snapping up old factories in property auctions and converting them into mixed-use spaces.

According to the Urban Land Institute's "Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2009" report, there are several new trends building properties are leaning toward. Mixed use development and infill development are essential to reduce the appearance of sprawl and urban decay, and modernize our major cities. Going green is another way to attract new buyers who are more eco-conscious than ever. Snapping up distressed apartments and condos near transit is a popular practice that aims to revitalize neighborhoods in trouble. Creating retail centers with drug stores and grocery stores is how you invest in real estate for the future.