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Living the High-Up Life


Yesterday wasn’t an easy day to be a Prince fan in Minneapolis, but I softened the blow with a tour through some of the city’s highest-end urban homes for a taste of what downsizing baby boomers and well-to-do millennials get when searching for high-end housing in downtowns across the country.

First, the good news: $2 million buys all the urban luxury, gorgeous views and sprawling space anybody could ask for here in Minneapolis. That is obviously not the case in tonier locales, like New York, Chicago, LA, San Fran, etc… With more wealthy people, and people in general wanting walkable lifestyles, there are more luxury options in all cities than there ever have been in the past.

Regardless of future economic conditions, this new housing stock isn’t going anywhere and is tangible evidence that habits are changing juxtaposed to the lack of new housing construction in suburbs and exurbs.

The bad news, in the words of my Keller Williams real estate agent who served as my tour guide, is the current market is “unsustainable.” Referring to the lack of houses and condos on the market, the (eventually) dwindling number of people who can afford rapidly appreciating houses in prime locations and, personally, for her own life. Writing multiple offers that get rejected, having to show clients many more homes than normal—it all takes a toll on agents that make their living attracting as many new clients as possible.

So what does this mean for business owners, investors and those looking to profit by understanding future trends? The demand for downtown, walkable, urban living isn’t going away.

As the supply of single-family homes gets even tighter in most metros, expect to see an increase in the pace of large-scale condo and apartment developments to meet the demand that remains insatiable following the Great Recession.

This means new ground-floor retail outlets, repurposed and redeveloped strip centers and, in general, an increase in density that will turn suburbs into more walkable environments and fill up remaining gaps in the urban fabric. It’s a trend you can profit off of.

And, if you happen to be one of those living the downtown high-rise life or are heading in that direction, stop and enjoy the view. From what I saw exploring the best listings in downtown Minneapolis, what’s available these days is truly jaw dropping.

From 25 floors up for most of the day, gloomy clouds matched the city’s mournful mood, but later the clouds cleared and the sun burst forth. It was a somber, beautiful day in downtown Minneapolis.

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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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