By Bob Young, Executive Managing Director, Weitzman
Consider these concepts: Dean & DeLuca. Taverna. Mesoro. eatZi’s, Princi Italia, Mi Dia from Scratch…the list goes on. Each made its mark with an urban location. Dean & DeLuca is familiar to anyone who’s ever walked the crowded sidewalks of Manhattan. Taverna’s original location is on historic Knox Street. Mesoro is on urban Dallas streets like Henderson and McKinney. eatZi’s has offered quality food and more at its Oak Lawn location for years. Princi Italia delights diners in the dense, close-in Preston Royal market.
So where are they each opening new locations? Uptown? The Design District? Fort Worth’s West 7th?
Nope, they’re expanding to the suburbs. Plano specifically.
Dean & DeLuca, Taverna and Mesoro will be part of the line-up at Legacy West, the mixed-use project that opens its retail in March 2017. eatZi’s, Princi Italia and other specialty restaurants like Royale Magnificent Burgers are part of the retail line-up at West Plano Village, which also features apartments and office space.
The mix of local, one-or-two-location concepts going into these mixed-use projects perfectly illustrates the trend I want to talk about – the Suburban-Urban Evolution.
People today want an urban environment and experience, even when they live in the suburbs. Developers are responding with new-vintage multi-family blended with restaurant and service space. These projects fits the bill with what we call the burgeoning Suburban-Urban Marketplace.
We all think of urban Uptown Dallas as the epicenter of mixed-use construction. But on a strict dollar and square footage basis, suburban Collin County is dominating this category. Why would Collin County be seeing this type of urban-style development on such a large scale?
A big reason is demographics. This market is getting denser. Take West Plano Village for example. Within a 3-mile radius, there are nearly 100,000 people, and the daytime population is nearly 120,000. Go out to a 5-mile radius, and you’re looking at around 310,000 people.
Now let’s look at the same type of demos in Oak Lawn, one of our densest urban neighborhoods. Within a 5-mile radius of Oak Lawn and Avondale, right in the heart of the district, there are 355,000 people. That’s not that much higher than those Plano demographics.
These markets are going to continue to become denser, and residents are showing that they like the trend. Even in the suburbs, people want the urban experience. They love the whole live-work-play environment.
That’s not to say that the single-family home is going anywhere soon. That type of residence dominates our suburban markets and will continue to do so.
But as our markets get denser, there is a place for all types of projects to succeed. And one of the most successful types will be those that provide the Suburban-Urban Experience.