Housing developers turn their attention to areas that appeal to cross generations

By Jeff Eichhorn – Executive Vice President, Henkle Schueler & Associates/Schueler Group

So much of what happens in the land, brokerage, construction, and development business is about understanding market trends with a heavy focus on longevity. It is up to the experts to note how lifestyle works long-term, where people will want to live in proximity to their jobs, what sort of transportation, and infrastructure matters. We in the business ask, “Where is the staying power?”

While we often point to Over-the-Rhine (OTR) and The Banks as the region’s showplaces, the reality is that the majority of residents in this 14-county region live and work outside of these areas. They are car-dependent, working longer and later into life, and reinventing themselves.

Those who work in the commercial and residential businesses follow housing trends. Today cross-generations live next door to one another, and our current workplaces reflect the same sentiment. This means that new structures must appeal to a diverse population.

Generations living together

The industry serves two different demographics, the millennials and the baby boomers who are approaching retirement, which is a vibrant dichotomy with the live, work, play type of community. There are 25-year-olds hanging out with 70-year-olds. This happens both at home and at work.

Folks in our business must accommodate preferences that appeal across a large swath of living. We make a well-educated decision on what will work best in the future. Again, what will have staying power?

Our industry connects the dots and the data from the past and the future. In doing so, we look at places such as restaurants and where their industry is heading. This speaks to seating and types of layouts necessary for food establishments. This is something that we consider as we recommend commercial projects and their success. It’s all about living and working together.

Green matters

We are also living in a time in which sustainability and green matter. These are no longer buzzwords, but requirements. Schueler Group is currently constructing its second building for Melink Corp in Clermont County; Melink’s initial building was the first gold-LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building in Southwest Ohio. Melink is a national leader in sustainability. They understand that what they build today is a precursor for both work and the overall environment tomorrow. Melink is a serious leader in what is now a long-term movement. Again, it is staying power with a heap of responsibility.

Where is the most growth?

While it is not often a media focus, there is tremendous growth in the outer belt and the suburbs. In Northern Kentucky, it’s the Amazon effect, so developers are looking for large tracks of land to build a 500,000-, 600,000- or a million-square-foot buildings. This has transformed Northern Kentucky’s economy.

Warren County is also an important place that offers an incredible quality of life. It has a very diverse economy in Mason and Lebanon with tourism, Western & Southern Tennis Open, Kings Island, bike trials, and the Little Miami River. It combines high-end residential communities along with industrial, and considerable business growth in those areas. Northern Kentucky and Warren County, Mason, and Lebanon specifically will continue as high growth and desirable areas.

So how does a company decide where to locate

It is critical that we stay vigilant and not become too consumed by the big sexy projects and the “in places to live and work.” While Covington has been on the upswing, they are also losing jobs because of the closure of an IRS office. While this might sound minor, it will impact the region.

Good minds working together can mitigate the negative impact of any trend modification, be it employment or development. At the same time, we advise clients about stable areas that are primed for growth. CEO Mike Schueler says, “This business is a bit like gambling.”

This article originally appeared on the Cincinnati Business Courier’s website.

House photo created by freepik- www.freepik.com

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