Once upon a time, the Atlanta region epitomized suburban sprawl. But development has shifted dramatically in the past few years. Since 2009, reports Atlantic Cities, “60 percent of new office, retail and rental properties in Atlanta have been built in what Christopher Leinberger calls “walkable urban places.” That new construction has taken place on less than one percent of the region’s land mass.
Urban land may be more expensive to re-develop than building in empty greenfields, but the location is so much more valuable that the rents more than cover the costs. The chart replicated here compares average rents on a per-square-foot basis in walkable urban places to those in drivable suburban places. Overall, people are willing to pay twice the price per square foot for walkable compared to drivable.
In an Atlanta conclave of real estate researchers yesterday, reports Emily Badger, Leinberger “forecast that the vast majority of new square footage built in America in this new real estate cycle will be developed on less than 10 percent of land that’s already occupied.”
Sixty percent of the growth in less than 10% of the already-occupied land: Could that be happening in Virginia’s metropolitan regions, too?