Rural Town Centers Continue to Grow

An interesting trend highlighted by a recent BisNow article, Coming To A Rural Area Near You: Urban Mixed-Use Development, is the growth of developers looking at rural areas to build urban style mixed-use developments. The article highlights some mixed-use developments happening outside Atlanta but we are beginning to see the growth of the concept along the Mid-Atlantic also.

Southeastern Pennsylvania, for example, is seeing more mixed-use developments in suburban areas outside Philadelphia and as far West as Lancaster and North in Allentown. The growth of these developments is fueled by cheaper land and a population increasingly interested in areas outside the city.

While it’s not shocking we are seeing these developments in places along the Main Line, the growth of the concept as far out as Lancaster shows there is a desire for people to have basically a town center.

Growth of Rural Town Centers

While most of the town centers require the majority of residents in an area to take a short drive in order to reach them, the attraction is the density of available shopping and dining offerings.

When these new developments find a strong tenant mix that attracts both those needing to shop and dine, success seems to follow.

As the article highlighted in a quote from Cheri Morris, “In some ways, it’s like we’re going back to the way things used to be, in which most people could walk or just [take] a short ride to a retail area that was the town square.”

With the increase in the number of people who don’t go to an office every day, we may continue to see these types of developments continue to grow in increasingly rural areas.