Retail Real Estate Marketing Meets The Maker Movement
Sometimes, the best way to move forward is to take a page from the past; look no further than the Maker Movement, a fascinating convergence of artisans and technology aimed at creating beautiful new ideas. With learnings from the Etsy Economy to strategic shifts in leasing by major developers, there is a heightened emphasis on independent and local retailers across the retail real estate industry, and “Agrihoods” are taking this idea to a whole new level.
Farm to Table… and Bells & Whistles
Imagine a mixed-use development where homes are built on acreages with fields to sow and nurture. Residents grow their own food and make their own products that stock commercial facilities such as farmer’s markets, local shops and co-ops. These markets in turn benefit neighbors and visitors. Sounds a bit like Little House on the Prairie, right? But this isn’t Laura Ingalls Wilder’s farm. These “farmettes” feature all the bells & whistles of today, and plant the seed of a brand new concept for the residential AND retail real estate industry:
- Irrigation and farming systems connected to an app on your phone that guide “beginner farmers” on the exact specifications of fertilizer and water
- Modern homes feature the latest in Bosch appliances and net zero energy efficiency
- A community intranet provides residents with real-time updates of what’s available fresh in the market
- On-premise innovation centers that demonstrate new technology, appliances and tools
- Wiring and outlets for electric vehicles
- Strategic leasing to fit a holistic community vision; e.g., yoga studios, artisan stores, farm-to-fork restaurants, etc.
Oh, and they are popping up in major urban communities from Denver to Atlanta to Davis, Calif.. Following are three “Agrihoods” making waves:
Serenbe is a 1,000-acre community located less than 30-minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The development’s four omega-shaped hamlets are carefully fitted into the natural landscape, forming an interface between green, wetland and watershed areas of the site and the surrounding sloping hills. Central to all is Serenbe Farms, a 25-acre working, organic farm and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) which provides organic produce for Serenbe’s three on-site restaurants as well as other businesses throughout Atlanta and The Chattahoochee Hill Country.
Colorado-based developer Bellisimo, Inc. is planning something new for its next project in the popular foothills town of Fort Collins. Built around the principles of community, environment, education, health and economics, the Bucking Horse project will strive to create new standards for a healthier lifestyle. The 160-acre Agrihood will feature healthy retailers (think bike shop and yoga studio), community gardens, and a farm-to-fork restaurant that will serve up produce and other edibles grown on site.
The Cannery, in Davis, Calif., was developed on a former tomato cannery site and provides not only a 7.4 acre community farm nearby that “serves as a state-of-the-art example of sustainable urban farming and an agri-classroom for beginning farmers,” but also a 1.5 kV photovoltaic solar energy system with every single home, as well as wiring for electric vehicles. Residents can even choose to upgrade to become a net zero home. Commercially, the Town Center will sell the produce from the Urban Farm to homeowners in The Cannery, as well as the Davis residents.
Agriburbia® Development LLC is a fully integrated development firm that focuses on resilient agricultural lifestyle communities. As this concept grows, many developers are beginning to tap consultants such as Quint Redmond, Chief Executive of Agriburbia in Golden, Colo., to help strategize and map out mixed-use developments into the Agrihood model. Featured in major media outlets such as The New York Times and ABC News, Quint has become one of the pioneers of this “Maker Movement” in mixed-use developments.
“REinvented: Agrihoods” is the first installment of the REinvented series by COHN. Collectively, COHN has more than a century of marketing experience in the retail real estate industry. From the launch of Neiman Marcus’ famous holiday gift guide to the recession of traditional malls to the rise of social media and it’s impact on shopper engagement, we have been there for it all. REinvented is our way of applauding the resilient and ever-changing retail real estate industry by spotlighting creative and game-changing retail applications we are seeing from coast to coast and beyond.