on ULI Colorado’s Are You Ready for What’s Next for Housing? June 7, 2012
A standing room only crowd of more than 200 attended ULI Colorado’s “Are You Ready for What’s Next for Housing” conference on June 7, 2012 at the Embassy Suites in Downtown Denver and heard two dozen housing experts discuss the current state of affairs related to demographics, affordable housing, apartments, and for-sale housing.
Keynote speaker Victoria Davis, who is responsible for acquisition, planning, design, and implementation for the Urban Atlantic developers in Bethesda, Maryland, told conference attendees that the Washington area was “probably two years ahead on the economic cycle,” and a precursor of what we’ll see in Denver. She said her firm is now developing location-focused, transit-oriented urban projects that offer proximity to work, neighborhood shopping and services, parks and recreation opportunities, and amenities such as lobbies, living rooms, concierges, shared work spaces, tech centers, gyms, bike storage, and pet-washing facilities.
Many of the apartments she has developed in the Washington DC area are designed with young working people—Gen Y or Milennials, in their twenties and early thirties–and have two master suites for roommates, big closets, sexy lighting, nice bathrooms, energy efficiency, kitchens with built-in drinking and eating areas that are not especially designed for cooking because this market “likes to eat out.” She said with 76 million Gen Yers looking for housing, developers should consider focusing in the near future on their preferences for downtown urban apartments.
“The conference succeeded in setting the stage for the next phases of the housing market, including apartments, condos, for-sale and affordable,” said co-organizer Angela McCormick. “There was also a dose of ULI realism about the future of urban infill vs. renewed suburban expansion. Yes, we’re driving less and renting longer, but the single-family house in a master planned community is not going away.”
Kathleen McCormick is principal of Fountainhead Communications, LLC in Boulder, CO, and writes and edits about design and the environment.