Guiding investment into urban centers
A new analysis of walkable urban places in the DC region creates a grading system that could help guide US urban real estate investment in coming decades.
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The first regional, comprehensive analysis of mixed-use urban centers finds that they account for a rapidly growing share of real estate development in the DC region. The nation’s capital is a model for how the US will develop for the next generation, says author Christopher Leinberger, research professor of urban real estate at George Washington University School of Business.
DC leads the nation in developing walkable urban centers — which Leinberger calls WalkUPs — because of the region’s level of education is the highest in the nation. The higher the education level, the greater the demand for urban living, he says.
The DC area has 43 “regionally significant” WalkUPs, up from about five a quarter century ago. That’s an increase of more than 750 percent. The region also has many “locally serving” walkable places — quieter mixed-use neighborhoods. Leinberger focuses on the regionally significant WalkUPs, however, because those will capture the interest of Wall Street and institutional investors. The report grades WalkUPs based on economic performance, i.e. lease rates and sale prices, grouping them into categories Copper, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Regionally significant WalkUPs account for less than 1 percent of the region’s land area but contain 29 percent of the income-producing