Urban Renewal: What's Driving Downtown's Comeback?

Morgan Brennan looks at the demographic and cultural factors driving America's "most surprising real estate boom," and examines how some cities have targeted investments to attract young professionals.

"One of the main factors businesses consider when deciding on where to relocate or expand is the available pool of college-educated workers," explains Brennan. "And that has cities competing for college-educated young adults."

"And there’s one place this desired demographic, college-educated professionals between the ages of 25 and 34, tends to want to live: tight-knit urban neighborhoods that are close to work and have lots of entertainment and shopping options within an easy walk," she notes. "In fact this demographic’s population grew 26% from 2000 to 2010 in major cities’ downtowns, or twice as fast as it did in the those cities’ overall metro areas, according to a CEOs for Cities report based on U.S. Census data. That is one of the reasons city planners have been plowing money and resources into revitalizing their core business districts."

Morgan looks at the ways that cities such as Denver, Birmingham, and Louisville are working to lure the "mobile, college-educated ‘young and restless’."

An accompanying slideshow depicts the development efforts underway in 15 of America's emerging downtowns.

Full Story: Downtowns: What's Behind America's Most Surprising Real Estate Boom

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