This article originally appeared in The La Jolla Light
At Murfey Company, we have been dedicated to the improvement of San Diego through innovative design and quality construction, and we believe in making a lasting investment in our communities. This is why we have launched several new divisions within Murfey Company, vertically integrated to include not just construction but also site acquisition, software development, as well as our real estate development and investments division called Veritas Urban Properties, where we specialize in urban infill projects and mixed-use housing.
While we’ve previously discussed adaptive reuse, we are now looking forward to the exciting prospects available for the revitalization of many of the downtown areas of San Diego.
Some people may be confused about the nature of mixed-use housing, what it entails, and how it can change the complexion of a city. But urban centers have long incorporated structures that contain both living spaces and commercial spaces on the street level. One benefit of this is to diminish heavy traffic by including amenities that are accessible without having to drive (and search for parking).
Mixed-use developments are designed to enhance the neighborhoods where they’re being built. An added benefit of a mixed-use development is that it tightens community bonds, giving hubs where people can come together, so that residents feel even more invested in their neighborhood. This is especially important in areas that have been either neglected or are just beginning their transitions—mixed-use development by committed investors gives an added boost to these transitioning communities.
But there is a very real and practical reason to build mixed-use developments: there just isn’t space anymore in San Diego, or in many other urban centers, to “sprawl.” While most of San Diego has been traditionally suburban, there isn’t enough raw land left to add on to those suburbs.
And it’s not only the amount of land left that affects the increase in urban infill projects. The lifestyles that were fairly static from after World War II through the early 2000s has undergone a drastic shift. People are increasingly looking for property near urban centers. Empty nesters are looking to downsize and be near useful amenities and stores. Young people are also flocking to urban centers so they can be near work, dining and nightlife, avoiding long commutes or relying totally on public transportation. San Diego has over 40 light-rail and bus stations now, making it easier than ever to move about the urban center. And a recent census statistic shows that only 25% of American households actually have the nuclear home—two parents, kids, and a pet. Fewer people are looking for that home on an acre of property than they were before. Couple this with the fact that the US population is projected to add over 40 million residents by 2020, and the importance of investing in mixed-use structures and urban infill projects becomes clear.
Some people are hesitant to invest in these projects since the economic downturn almost ten years ago, but there is plenty of capital for even selective investors. Also, while it isn’t critical, it is still preferably when investors come from within a community—they have a vested interest in doing what’s right for their community, and they will know best what is needed to make their neighborhood flourish.
Next month, we will cover facts versus myths of mixed-use development projects, including some statistics that may surprise you. For more information on our recent multi-use developments, or to explore more of what we have to offer at Murfey Company, visit us at www.murfeycompany.com.