Friday, November 16, 2007

Safety Trumps Stadiums

Had an interesting conversation last night about the fact that Orlando is somewhat unique in Florida right now because our urban (CBD) office space more expensive than suburban office space. This is a good thing. Other markets - like Tampa, Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale - are seeing companies leave downtown cores for suburban space. Miami may be the other exception in the state but most major metro areas are finding downtown towers are too expensive to build given the lower return. So downtowns are dying. What's interesting is that Jacksonville and Tampa both have NFL teams with downtown stadiums - and yet can't sustain their downtown business core. It would suggest that a downtown residential base might be more imperative to downtown viability. It's not just about have workers live near their workplace. It's that whole live, work, play vibrancy that comes with having people in and around your downtown 24-7. And it's not just condos. Historic neighborhoods are important. There is considerable value that comes with the psychic energy and monetary investment of residents. Of course, to maintain our downtown residential base, safety matters. The conversation last night involved discussion of the fact that many of us feel safer walking downtown Manhattan at night than we do in some of Florida's major metro areas. All of a sudden safety isn't just an issue for moms and kids. It's a business imperative.

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