I recently read the Greater New Haven economic development plan for the upcoming year, and was interested to see that a couple of new areas of focus have been identified for our region. One is agribusiness and processed foods, on the theory that caring about what you eat and where it comes from is a trend that seems likely to continue. Since I have a son doing rooftop farming in NYC, I've become very aware of the boom in local food of all types. The second, also driven by consumers and trends, is "green" business of any kind. That dovetails with another report I've read in the past week, saying that green certification and proximity to mass transit are the two amenities that renters are most likely to value, and be willing to pay for. It was a little surprising to see that washer/dryers and gyms were way down the list, but, again, this is a trend for the future.
What does this mean for commercial real estate? First of all, energy conservation in buildings matters more than ever. Secondly, ease of commuting may not mean what it used to mean. Now it's commuting by bicycle, by foot, or by public transportation, which is entirely different from suburban office buildings with free parking and easy commutes. And thirdly, as I've found in my own family, what's old is new again. Farming, which goes back almost to the dawn of civilization, is new again!