Wednesday, April 8, 2015

“Edge Cities” Grow Up

The new Tysons Corner skyline gets an update with a residential tower.
In 1991, journalist Joel Garreau published his seminal book, Edge Cities, which described places like Tysons Corner, a former country cross roads that grew into the quintessential automobile-oriented suburban shopping center and office park surrounded by traditional suburban single family homes. Today, Tysons is one of many former riding the wave back towards mixed-use downtown's, according to Shopping Centers Today (“Living Above the Store”, SCT April 2015). This trend is being led by millennials and baby boomers who want urban places to live, work and shop. According to a 2014 Nielson Report , “Millennials are fueling an urban revolution looking for the vibrant, creative energy cities offering a mix of housing, shopping and offices right outside their doorstep.” In fact, 62% of millennials “prefer to live in mixed-use communities found in urban centers.”

Shopping mall developers are increasingly responding to this growing demand by growing the commensurate supply of mixed-use projects that include a residential component. Both Macerich and Simon Properties, two of the largest mall developers in the nation, are adding housing to projects in their portfolios. Macerich recently added a 430-unit residential tower to Tysons Corner mall and Simon is adding a 319-unit mid-rise luxury building at its Phipps Plaza Property in Atlanta. Simon has also added 232-units to its Southdale Center mall in Edina, Minnesota. Downtown's and urban places are clearly the inspiration for these former Edge cities.
Skyview Center and Skyview Parc in downtown
Flushing, Queens, a combined mall/apartment building 
But if you think this is just a suburban trend, think again. Downtown Flushing, Queens, NY is home to the Shops at Skyview Center a $1 billion dollar project that is home to an 800k mixed-use, multi-level shopping center with stores like BJ’s, Nike Clearance Store, Forever 21, Target and Nordstrom Rack. Above Skyview Center is Skyview Parc – a luxury apartment building that is luring an international crowd of buyers (many Chinese) to some of the area’s most pricey apartments (the average apartment sells for over $700k). The project also offers a four acre landscaped park on the roof of the mall with walking trails, playgrounds, a dog run and picnic tables. Nice place to live if you can afford it…

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