TRANSPORTATION – DRIVING INVESTMENT IN REGIONAL MARKETS NATION-WIDE
Don’t look now but the future is here. No matter where you live, including here in the Lowcountry no doubt you have an opinion about development and growth and its impact on your quality of life and infrastructure. Recent election results indicate that there is a growing backlash here in the Lowcountry against over development due to the fast pace growth in the Charleston Tri-county area. There are a number of local citizens that feel the area is growing too fast and we need to slow down development, unfortunately that ship has sailed and the Charleston region will continue to grow at a record pace for years to come. There are 50 people moving to the Tri-county region every day and they all need somewhere to live work and play. Charleston is now the largest city in the state of South Carolina and one of the fastest growing regions in the nation. We have a strong economy and new jobs are being generated everyday with the likes of Boeing, Google, Volvo and other companies that support them opening operations in and around the region.
No elected official is going to be able to stop or even slowdown the progress in the region so what is the answer to preserving our quality of life while continuing to accommodate the population explosion? The answer is Transportation Oriented Development or TOD also known as the new urbanism, a design movement which promotes environmentally friendly habits by creating walkable neighborhoods containing a wide range of housing, jobs and alternative transportation. This concept focuses on high-density, multi family, office, mixed-use properties and developments within close proximity (defined as less than a half a mile) to rapid transit or light rail stations and hubs and has been popularized around the country with great success. The benefits of TOD include slowing or ending urban sprawl, protecting the environment, improving public parks and common living spaces, improving overall traffic flow and contributing to sustainability through less reliance on personal automobile use and increasing the overall quality of life for everyone in the region.
Instead of trying to slow development, local business leaders and elected officials need to work together to address our transportation needs and develop “smart growth” urbanization such as TOD in the region that will protect our environment and green spaces while enhancing our overall quality of life. Locally, in addition to TOD our leaders need to focus on building more bridges like expanding Clements Ferry Road past I-526 and over the Cooper River into North Charleston at the Cosgrove and Sam Rittenburg interchange at I-26 into West Ashley, widening I-26, finishing I-526 and developing a mass transit hub in North Charleston that will link Mount Pleasant, Charleston, West Ashley, North Charleston, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and Summerville. It is this infrastructure that will stimulate TOD to accommodate our rapid growth and dramatically improve the quality of life in the region. Charleston is at least 30 years behind our peers in addressing these important issues and developing a transportation plan that includes mass transit.
More and more research and studies support the fact that many different things drive development and real estate investment but none more than the proximity to smartly-designed and well-maintained infrastructure that includes high density development, public transportation and pedestrian walkways with access to reliable and convenient travel options that eliminates the need for long distance travel between home, work, schools and recreation areas. Of the 440 public officials, business leaders and real estate professionals surveyed in 10 of the fastest growing markets in the country including the Lowcountry, 100% of them indicated that improving transportation infrastructure was the most important issue impacting development and should be given the highest priority over any other factors affecting growth.
Contrary to recent election results and the apparent push back on developement, TOD is here to stay and is the trend of the future. Expect TOD and the idea of using transit as a major factor that drives new development to continue to gain popularity and support. This is good news for property owners in and around high growth areas. A recent survey done by the consulting firm HNTB found that 70% of millennials indicated that they would pay more in rent or mortgage payments to be able to live work and play without depending on the use of a private vehicle. Realtors are obviously on board with this and the National of Association of Realtors NAR currently offers incentives to get TOD developments underway by issuing Smart Growth Grants designed to encourage developers, business leaders and elected officials to zone, approve and build high density communities that offer a range of housing options that are located at or near current and future transportation hubs that offer a range of options including walking, biking and mass transit.
Let Rick and Jim help you better understand these complex issues and find a home that best suits your needs while increasing in value, that will help solve our current development issues, rather than contribute to the problem. Be sure to contact us today at "Rick and Jim Properties" or call us at 843-469-6570 / 6580 and like us on Facebook at R and J Properties so we can help you find the perfect fit for you! We look forward to working with you very soon.