The commercial landscape is ever changing, which is one of the things that keep it interesting. As new projects get underway, entire neighborhoods are energized and more new development is spawned.
Many times, all it takes to start a chain reaction is one bright idea that’s hatched at just the right time, when a neighborhood is ripe for rejuvenation. When that happens, investors are excited about being part of the change. The neighborhood becomes a hotspot for investment and further development. Here are some U.S. neighborhoods where change is afoot and opportunities are popping up like mushrooms after the rain.
Little Havana, Miami
Development has exploded in this iconic Miami neighborhood, prompting local concern for preservation of its unique working-class Cuban-American vibe. Earlier this year, commissioners gave preliminary approval for a measure that would change zoning laws to allow for five-story buildings, with a maximum 65 units per acre, and new commercial development in the area.
Developers are looking to increase density in the area while preserving the neighborhood’s character. The center of the commercial district is Calle Ocho, which is lined with cafes and restaurants, galleries and museums. Cigar shops, coffee stands, and the Domino Park make this a one-of-a-kind district. Plans are underway to increase the inventory of multi-family properties around Little Havana, and local groups are working to ensure that affordable units are part of the plan.
Attracted by more moderate rents and multi-family, people have been flocking to Brooklyn, and businesses are following suit, setting up shop in the booming downtown district. The office sector here is booming, and the tremendous appetite for office space has led to new construction as well as conversion of existing buildings, particularly in DUMBO (down under Manhattan bridge overpass), Williamsburg, and downtown. An example of the development underway here is Empire Stores, which is converting warehouse space on the waterfront for retail and office space. Macy’s Brooklyn store is also being reconfigured to create a more streamlined retail space topped with 10 stories of class A office space.
South Loop, Chicago
The excitement in Chicago’s South Loop area is all about multi-family. High rise apartment projects are springing up and many more are in the works for this section of the city, which lies just south of downtown, running along the lakeshore, skirting the Field Museum campus, and incorporating iconic Grant Park.
A proposed project on Michigan Avenue, 1000M will have over 500 residential units in 73 stories. The boom in residential development is inspiring other projects in the area, including a new mixed-use, hospitality and entertainment district, to be called McCormick Square.
Minutes from San Francisco, West Oakland has been a rather edgy neighborhood and was ignored by developers for decades, but that has changed. Now it’s one of the city’s most active development zones, with new residential units being carved out in existing properties, including the Pacific Cannery building and a decrepit train station that’s being revived by Orton Development Co. in partnership with Bridge Housing.
The influx of new residential development will naturally attract more retail to the area, which was cut off from neighboring areas with the construction of the Cypress Freeway in the 1950’s. Now its location – just minutes by BART from both San Francisco and downtown Oakland-has drawn the attention of developers.
The development boom in this suburb 8 miles north of Los Angeles has been underway for several years, and shows no signs of slowing. Thousands of new residential units have been added, increasing the density of the city’s downtown area. More than 1000 new residential units are currently under construction, as well as mixed-use properties, such as the Cinema Lofts on East Wilson, slated for completion in 2017.