Jacksonville is full of empty lots and surface parking that once housed buildings and shops and all manner of dense urban fabric. This wasteland needs to be filled. But with what? How about modern urban townhomes and live/work lofts?
The first floor consists of a retail space and the public living areas. The second floor would include bathrooms, bedrooms, laundry and an outdoor patio. Perfect for young entrepreneurs in a recovering economy.
Definitely agree with you on this one. I’ve lived in both Wichita, KS and Omaha, NE and they are rife with empty lots or surface parking (my most hated feature of Mid-West urban centers).
What do you think the largest obstacle to building these types of live/work buildings would be?
The largest obstacle so far seems to be cost. The essence of live/work is affordability. Otherwise why would you combine your home and office?
If developers can take a small risk and increase their ROI time frame then these units could be built for the average person (around $150k – $175k). That to me is real urban infill, not these hyper inflated modern “lofts” at $300k+.
Coming from a development background I know what you mean. There seems to be an entrenched attitude that a larger payoff right out of the gate is the only way to make money in urban real estate development. While this attitude is probably related to the financing in place for the project and limited cash flow of the developers it is a shame that affordable, for sale, housing is not readily available in many downtown areas.
I would love to see a movement toward owner-based development where the people who want to live and work in these spaces are in charge of financing and ultimately building the project. I think a lot of attention would be payed to affordability if habitation rather than profit was the primary motivation behind development.
Rob, thanks for your comments. I’m in agreement with you 100%. Something I’ve gotten very interested in as I contemplate making the big leap to self-employment is the idea of co-working and co-op partnerships. The idea that a small group of individuals could pool their resources and design/build live/work housing as urban infill is genius! Only thing you need is a few individuals you trust enough to start that kind of partnership. 🙂