by Melissa Herron, Builder Magazine, July 1998
City buyers aren’t motivated by the factors that lead people to buy in far-flung suburban locations. “People who move downtown want vibrancy…They are there strictly for the lifestyle.” –Dan McLean, veteran Chicago infill builder.
…suburbs just aren’t the utopia they used to be…”People once moved to the ‘burbs to escape crime and congestion and traffic jams of the city. But now the suburbs have all that.” –Andrew Warner, sales and marketing director for a high-rise condo builder in Chicago.
“People are coming back to the city because they’re tired of the sterile feel of suburbia.” [Bernie Glieberman, president of Crosswinds Communities in Detroit] Yet suburbia is exactly where most builders have built for the past four decades. [M. Herron]
70 percent of those surveyed preferred the concepts of New Urbanism — pedestrian orientation, community gathering places, and close-by shopping — as long as they could have privacy.
30 percent of those surveyed said they preferred an urban model where they could walk to conveniences. [M. Herron] “This is in a place that has no model, no basis of comparison to suburbia…I would say that means probably close to half the market wants it,” says Chris Lineberger, vice president of market analysts Robert Charles Lesser & Co.
“A substantial portion of buyers don’t want to live in the suburbs.” –Glen Barnard, president of builder Kaufman and Broad’s Denver division.
The neighborhoods that more and more consumers are scouting these days are close in. The beauty of infill locations is that the amenities are in place, and they have character. There’s no waiting for chain grocery stores and franchise restaurants, as is often the case in suburban settings. Shops, schools, and cafes already exist, along with theatres, libraries, art museums — you name it.
What attracts the older crowd? “Food, restaurants, nightlife, restaurants, restaurants, and food.” — Roger Mankedick, sales and marketing vice president for Concord Homes in Chicago.
75 percent of households don’t have children under age 18, making them prime candidates for urban infill projects.
Questions about crime often disappear after enough buyers move in, according to McLean. “People watch out for each other. Density creates safety.”