Townships and cities of all sizes grapple with the dilemma of how to grow and enhance the quality of life without making their municipality unaffordable or unattractive. Likewise, local councils and zoning boards are challenged with getting the right mix between commercial and residential, public and private. A key element of increasing the vibrancy of a city is ensuring a variety of housing options to attract a diverse blend of residents and thus support a broader base of businesses.
New Housing Options Can Make Development More Popular
Proposed property acquisitions and developments frequently provoke some level of knee-jerk opposition within a community. However, such projects can often generate more support if they contain a housing component in addition to commercial developments.
Angelo Ingrassia developer and owner of Rochester’s Sibley Triangle Building is among the savvy investors increasingly pursuing projects that combine business space with new housing options. Such projects can be done in a way that responds to current community needs while also respecting a neighborhood’s history and character.
Mixed-used developments offer prospective residents the possibility of being able to live closer to where they work, shop or attend school. Younger people and families are drawn in by the convenience, while older people have options for staying in their community even if their single-family home becomes too much to manage. This potential for helping a municipality retain residents and even grow can be a powerful selling point when seeking the approval of zoning and planning officials.
Attracting positive neighborhood input with a housing component may not only short-circuit the roadblocks of potential NIMBYism, but also build excitement about a project and provide valuable publicity. As more citizens’ groups pressure the local authorities to address housing shortages, projects that incorporate new housing can bring out locals to vocally support the development and counteract the naysayers.
Varied Housing Types Attract People and Investment
A prosperous community needs a mix of people from students to young professionals to young families and retirees. Attracting and keeping residents who are at different stages of their lives depends on offering housing options that are appropriate for different needs.
Housing density and variety can translate to more people with a variety of needs that must be met. Those needs in turn drive demand for various kinds of businesses and services; if the demand is there, investors will rush to meet it.
Students and young professionals who need apartments also look for plentiful restaurant and nightlife options. Families looking for a fenced-in yard and a good school system will also spend on childcare, family entertainment venues, and home improvement. Downsizing seniors who would prefer to stay in their longtime community will be in the market for financial and personal services well into their golden years.
Many components go into making a city attractive to individuals and businesses alike, from good schools to a talented labor pool to plentiful shopping and recreation. The single biggest driver of local growth, however, may be a supply of housing that is both abundant and diverse. Municipal planning that clears out obstacles to new and different types of housing can open the door to prosperity and opportunity that makes everyone feel more at home.