New Mantra: Live Where You Eat

December 12, 2016

Developers are now turning to food to help gain attraction to their residential projects and even command higher home values. Access to healthy food, community farms, chef-driven restaurants, or innovative food retail areas is increasingly being touted by real estate developers as an amenity, according to a new report released by the Urban Land Institute.

“The synergy between food and real estate is becoming increasingly evident,” says Rachel MacCleery, ULI senior vice president. “Just as food plays a key role in social interaction and creating a sense of community, real estate plays a significant role in shaping how people access and experience food. An emphasis on access to healthy food is spurring innovative developments that are enhancing the overall prosperity, sustainability and livability of our communities.”

ULI’s report notes a growth in “agrihoods” – single-family or mixed-use communities built within a working farm as a focus – and food-centric residential developments, in which homes are built around community gardens or restaurants that use locally grown food. Also catching on: Next-generation urban markets, food halls that use innovative food sourcing concepts to urge a greater sense of community.

Overall, researchers say that investments in food-related enterprises within larger development projects can support a developer’s bottom line, while also addressing health and environmental goals that buyers find attractive. The food connection can be as big as mixing in retailers and restaurants into the developments or on a smaller scale like developing partnerships to offer wellness clinics and nutrition and cooking programs or community gardens for the neighborhood.

Source: Urban Land Institute