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Monday, February 1, 2010

Talking the walk: Boomers trending toward urban environments, like Daniel Island

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Daniel Island features Tom Fazio and Rees Jones golf courses as well as a community that puts many houses within walking distance of all shopping and services.


        For years, golf communities at a distance from urban areas have been a lure for retirees.  Some folks are content with homes far from a bustling city and do not mind being totally reliant on a car to take them to where any action is, modest though that action may be in the boondocks.

        Not me.  Although I am resigned to live most of the year in a home on the South Carolina coast,

Paris sounds nice a few months a year, but I'll settle for New York or Boston.

which my wife favors, I am insistent that we spend at least a couple of months in some urban environment each year.  Paris sounds nice, but I’ll settle for New York or Boston, any place where I can hang up the car keys for an extended period and let my feet (and public transportation) take me where I want to go.

        I thought I might be a little odd in this regard, at least as far as baby boomers go.  But according to a recent Urban Land Institute report, I’m actually going with the flow.  The ULI reports that, “75% of retiring Boomers said that they want to live in mixed-age and mixed-use communities, i.e. in urban settings.”

        The report went on to add that, “Not all will want to move to the central city, and walkable, urbanized suburban town centers will see an influx of aging Boomers.”

         Near our home in Connecticut, nearly all condos in such a mixed-use development have sold, despite the extreme troubles in the condo market.  Blue Back Square in West Hartford is like a mini-city,

“...once the Boomers can sell their homes and buy condos, these centers will thrive during the decade ahead.”

about a six-block square of retail stores, restaurants, shops, fitness centers, parking areas and apartments above it all.  Some of the anchor tenants include a Cheesecake Factory restaurant, Whole Foods supermarket, a three-screen cinema, Barnes & Noble bookstore and Crate & Barrel furniture store.  Town hall and a large library are within two blocks of Blue Back Square’s edge, and another two blocks takes you into the center of West Hartford, with dozens more restaurants and shops.

        This kind of manufactured urban setting is not new, although the momentum has stalled somewhat during the last five years (hasn’t everything?) as the condo resale market has virtually collapsed.  But, adds the Urban Land Institute, “once the Boomers can sell their homes and buy condos, these centers will thrive during the decade ahead.”

        Few of these urban centers have the space to include golf courses within their perimeter, but one place that comes close is Daniel Island, outside of Charleston.  Daniel Island is more or less self-contained, with many attractive Charleston style homes within walking distance of supermarket, offices, shops and restaurants.  Two 18-hole golf courses (Tom Fazio and Rees Jones) are within the confines of Daniel Island but a short drive from most of the housing.  Still, Daniel Island captures the spirit of what is often referred to as “new urbanism.” 

        If the demographers and sociologists are right, Daniel Island could be ahead of its time.

Read 3119 times Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2013 11:29
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.


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