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Health-Centered Communities May Start To Resonate In Coronavirus Era

Health-centered communities, neighborhoods where millennials, baby boomers, technological advances, and new health care delivery models all converge, can be the blueprint of urban and suburban planning even in the age of COVID-19 and especially post-COVID-19, says Dennis Frenchman, Director of the MIT Center for Real Estate and the Class of 1922 Professor of Urban Design and Planning.

“Baby boomers are looking for convenient, affordable, aging-in-place health care options. Millennials, meanwhile, are pursuing physical environments that support their well-being and community-centric values,” Frenchman tells “Our goal is to provide a blueprint for how to navigate these complex and profound demographic and cultural shifts taking shape throughout our society.”

Frenchman and his colleague, Stanley Shaw, plan on offering the course, Developing Health-Centered Communities: The Next Revolution.” in Real Estate in the Fall.

Baby boomers are aging and healthcare is foremost on their mind while most millennials are trying to lead healthy lifestyles by eating healthy foods and leading active social lives.

“These two generations are colliding in terms of health and wellness,” observes Frenchman.

Another plus to these communities for baby boomers how older buildings relate to their health.

“Living and working in an older, poorly ventilated building can negatively contribute to your health and longevity,” explains Frenchman. “If you have better quality air, sunlight and an overall healthy environment, landlords and developers can get premium rents.”

For these and other reasons, millennials are now suggesting their parents move to a health-centered community where parents can age in place instead of assisted-living facilities. As a result, the younger generation has more contact with the older generation, Frenchman says.

These communities tend to feature health centers in addition to the ubiquitous clubhouse. The developers also encourage walking around the community instead of driving everywhere. Instead of flattening hills, developers keep them intact to promote more exercise and movements.

“Health-centered communities also feature bike trails, social opportunities, horse stables and wellness programs,” says Frenchman. “Developers who offer these products will garner a lot of interest from all age groups.”


People are naturally social animals and the coronavirus has thrown a wrench in attending or hosting social events. In this age of social distancing however, healthy-centered communities can easily adapt to not interacting or engaging at any given time.

“Technology will solve some of the need but not necessarily all. However, it can work for a period of time,” explains Frenchman. “With digital technology, and in a health-centered community, patients are monitored remotely in their own environment. They can actually monitor their own oxygen, pollutants, carbon monoxide, etc. These tests are important for many reasons but it also shows you the physiological response of people as they live on their own environment.”

Frenchman believes these health-centered communities are simply a better way of living.

“There are less ER visits and less hospital stays,” says Frenchman. “Encouraging people to use their body and minds and overall just take care of themselves in this age of COVID-19 is always a good thing and it can also result in profits.”


Source: GlobeSt.

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A Strategy For Successful Retail In A Changing Market

Millennials brought on a cultural shift built around valuing experiences over material things. This trend resulted in another movement—away from suburban sprawl and toward live-work-play and mixed-use environments.

Commercial Property Executive asked Scott Sherman and Ben Mandell, co-founders of Miami-based real estate investment firm Tricera Capital, how they choose the right neighborhoods for bringing more experiences and character to a city. Approximately one year ago, the firm acquired the Palm Beach Post building, a former printing press and newspaper headquarters located in West Palm Beach, Fla., with the intention to transform it into a mixed-use building encompassing retail and office space. The project is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2021.

The duo also talked about the way adaptive reuse and redevelopment projects can enhance and preserve the essence of a community by creating relevant retail experiences while honoring the history of a building.

The retail segment has been constantly changing for the past few years. How would you describe the sector today?

Sherman: It depends on the type of retail. Retail is definitely evolving, but not all retail is dying as you read in the media. Our focus on emerging and mature growth markets with a dense urban core has been proving out. Service and entertainment-focused retail is doing well, and larger national brands that have been quick to adapt, downsize and change merchandising and product offerings have also been performing well.

What kind of retail assets and tenants are you targeting in this late-cycle environment?

Mandell: We are focused on neighborhoods and cities in the Southeast U.S. with a strong population and job growth. Over the past decade, the national trend has shifted from suburban sprawl to live-work-play and mixed-use environments. With e-commerce thriving, we are focusing on retail uses that can’t be replaced online. Food and beverage and entertainment-type uses are thriving right now, but you need to balance that with a mix of other uses such as fitness, service and some dry goods as well.

Retail today is mostly about experiences. How do you make sure that your properties remain relevant for tenants and customers alike?

Sherman: I like to say we are in the business of betting on operators and concepts. We come across a lot of new operators and concepts and need to determine which ones we believe will be successful within our project, and which operators have the experience and ability to execute. When we find great operators in a market, we like to try and work with them to create new concepts that we believe will be synergetic with our tenants.

This is extremely important today, as the idea of “credit tenants” is not what it used to be. Most of these new experiential tenants are not AAA-credit, nor do they have significant balance sheets to put behind the lease.

What strategy do you use when choosing a new location for a retail investment?

Sherman: We take a more of a rifle than a shotgun approach when exploring a new market. We will first look for cities with an influx of residential and office density/job growth. If the job market is strong and the residential market is growing, we look to find the street, neighborhood or pocket that has the bones and character to be a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly retail area that we can start to assemble and merchandise.

We also understand that every city/market is unique, so we like to understand the demographics and type of residents living and moving there to better cater the retail mix to the residents. We also try to embrace the local tenants and operators and sprinkle in regional and national tenants where needed. Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Fla., is a great example of a street and city that checked all the right boxes, and we have been successful in executing our strategy there.


Source:  CPE

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