Live|Work|Play & the 18 Hour City

Urban revival and urban meets suburbia. That is what’s hot right now. Learn who is in the driver’s seat and how you can mix the two all within the latest city trend, the 18 hour city.

by Makenzey Haynes

Across the nation, the “live, work, play” communities are booming. This concept is a fusion of the typical 8 hour work day and the excitement of big city living after hours. Becoming popular within the past few years, the 18 hour cities are reviving urban areas that had once lost their appeal and transforming them into popular upscale areas.

Cities such as Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, and even our very own Atlanta, have experienced the restoration of its inner urban core transforming into an 18 hour city. No longer is the workday classified as 9 am to 5 pm; the day now lasts from 9 am to midnight, creating plenty of time for work and play. These cities do not necessarily shut down right at the strike of midnight, but they aren’t quite the city that never sleeps, either.   These up and coming areas are home to some of the finest restaurants, bars, retail shops and luxury apartments. The appeal?  You can find all of these within close proximity to the working district or even in the center of it.

Atlanta is home to several of these mixed-use developments that are classified as “live, work, play” communities. And now, the developments have sprawled outside of the Perimeter.

10 years ago, Atlantic Station was the first to emerge within the city limits, quickly rising to the top of places to be and be seen. Recently, Atlantic station underwent a $ 2.5 million renovation facelift to improve guest experience. Property-wide sales reached $140/ SF and around 35 new retail and restaurant leases were signed in order create a good mix of market and consumer demands.

Heading north on highway 400, just a few miles outside of Buckhead, Avalon Alpharetta, is the newest development to enter the race. Though it is not in the heart of downtown, it is just as much a competitor as the in town developments. Just to get an idea of how hot The Avalon is, take a look at the numbers:

– 98% leased months before the grand opening

– Retail sales exceeding $1,000/ PSF

– Luxury apartment rental costs are leasing at nearly 40% higher than close competitors

– Office rents at the Avalon are 35% higher than the Alpharetta average.

The Avalon offers over 570,000 square feet of retail space and approximately 75 retailers.  This urban feel located on the cusp of the suburbs is the best of both worlds for many who desire big city living, but also want the small town feel. The Avalon caters to all age groups from toddlers to adults and makes sure that everyone will enjoy their experience. Phase II of the development is projected to be complete in March of 2017. The new phase will include 90,000 square feet of retail, 500,000 square feet of Class-A office space, additional rental homes, and a 300 key, full-service hotel.

What has brought the sudden change and migration of people from their cozy homes in the suburbs to the city and city-like establishments? The millennials. Being the biggest generation since the baby boomers, the millennials are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the direction of commercial and residential real estate. The younger generation is drawn to the amenities such as the ease of walkability and the density of people and things to do. Another factor in the sudden influx for these developments is the aversion  to long commutes and traffic that the new class of working individuals foster.  With traffic becoming more of a make it or break it deal while job hunting, the solution is to move where your work is.  This mentality has started the classic a chain reaction. Companies and jobs will move to where there are people. Right now, the people can be found within the 18 hour city limits.

However, the millennials aren’t all to blame for the sudden increase in the urban market, baby boomers are also drawn to communities such as these. Those ranging in age from 53-55, are taking advantage of the live, work, play trend.  Resort style living and retirement communities are classified as the least desirable pieces of property right now.

Though many are riding the wave of the “live, work, play” community, some are cautious due to the uncertainty of the millennials. Many are predicting that millennials may like the life that the urban live, work, play communities offer now, but will not find it suitable when they begin to settle down and have families.  Over the span of the next few years, there will be more evidence to prove whether or not the millennials really do settle down and raise families in the heart of the city. Only time will tell, but for now we should all enjoy what our local 18 hour city as to offer.