Retail Refugees

Artists: Trailblazers in Real Estate
September 29, 2008, 2:03 pm
Filed under: Stores | Tags: , , , ,

The real estate industry is in turmoil at the moment for obvious reasons of tighter lending conditions and the lack of financing options around the world. With all of these troubles however, property speculators and buyers who still manage to have some cash on hand are among the lucky few who are able to make some worthwhile investments. If you are one of these opportunistic investors for retail, hospitality purposes, or otherwise, experts are saying that your best bet might be to follow the artists in your city. According to Business Week, these areas of town are often the diamonds in the rough that can prove to be a valuable investment:

“Soho was once one. So were Tribeca; Venice, Calif.; and Philadelphia’s Old City. These former gritty neighborhoods once offered low-cost housing for artists.

Over time, these neighborhoods flourished, adding art galleries, coffee shops, hip little boutiques, and cool restaurants. Property values in turn increased to the point where many of the original artists found themselves priced out. Eventually the artists moved on in search of new bohemian blocks, but for the savvy home buyer, keeping an eye on where artists live can be a great way to get in early before a market takes off.

The reason is that artists are happy to move where real estate investors aren’t prepared to go—crime-ridden inner cities with trashed-out apartments, inside rat-infested buildings that seem destined for the wrecking ball.

Artists aren’t looking for the next hot neighborhood, just large, affordable spaces where they can grind, hammer, saw, and generally make a racket in the name of creativity. But they often set the stage for redevelopment, and home buyers who follow their lead can sometimes get in while real estate prices are affordable.

“Artists send the signal,” said Corbett. “The artists are the early adopters.…They do it in real estate the same way they do it in fashion, furniture design, and graphic design.”

The following images are three of these up-and-coming neighborhoods that artists have developed in the USA ( Pilsen in Chicago, Wynwood in Miami, and Jamaica Plain in Boston). When establishing a shop- especially a niche one, definitely consider taking a step away from the high street and looking towards your city arts district (where they LIVE, not necessarily where there are selling their work).

In which other cities around the world have you noticed this trend?





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