In the 1970s and '80s, US industrial output went into a decline as manufacturing jobs went to other countries. Factories and offices in urban areas were shuttered and fell prey to neglect and vandalism. It was a period of painful transition, but these buildings are now seeing new use - housing the knowledge workers of the 21st century.
Apartment Redevelopment Gives Old Buildings New Life
Projects like University Park in Memphis prove that old factories do not have to be in enormous cities to be successful. Demand for housing is strong in communities of all sizes. The historical interest, non-traditional look and feel, and proximity to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife make these small urban developments attractive.
Entrepreneurs and Investors Lead the Way
The value of an old building in a place like Memphis or Chicago is often first seen by a local entrepreneur. But these projects usually require millions in structural renovations and improvements. Investors like Steven Taylor make it possible. Taylor is a Los Angeles-based landlord, investor, and adviser on projects like these. He's also been an advocate for community improvements that help make these new communities livable.
Public Improvements Make It Possible
For an area like Hell's Kitchen in New York to be transformed from a run-down former industrial area to a desirable living space like it is today, it takes more than rebuilding the individual buildings. Water, sewer, roads, transportation, and other issues must often be addressed by the municipalities involved. Civic leaders must see the value in property and sales tax that can be realized by improving the public spaces surrounding these developments.
Next time you see a run-down old warehouse with broken windows and padlocked doors, consider how it could be a stylish apartment, shopping center, or community center. An investment in these buildings now can create an enormous impact in your community.