Developers are responding to the demand for office space in American suburbs, which is rebounding after many years of lagging behind urban areas. According to CoStar Group, suburban office space will grow at 1% this year, the most progression seen in the past six years. The transition from downtown space to suburban areas is a result of overcrowding. Downtown areas are more expensive and harder to find. On the other hand, the suburbs contain more vacancies, while tenants are able to rent or buy for a discounted price. Developers are building in areas where the climate for suburban business is improving, particularly suburbs in Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Boston.
A $65 million project in a Keystone, Indiana suburb is a prime example of the movement to the suburbs. The development will be called River North at Keystone, and will provide an office building as well as luxury apartments. This upper-middle class suburb is located across the street from Fashion Mall at Keystone, making the area comparable to a downtown region. But some argue that it will be even more appealing than downtown Indiana, with a one-mile trail that will loop around the surrounding lake, and sidewalks to connect all properties in the area. River North will profit from benefits similar to the live, work, play lifestyle of other cities.
Of course, the supply of offices will take time to catch up to the bustling tenant demands. When dealing with high cost projects such as River North at Keystone, developers must take the transition to an active suburb one step at a time. According to Geoffrey Booth, a professor of urban planning at Texas A&M University, transforming a single-purpose suburban office into a city-like hub is more than just building things. “Just as when you’re cooking dinner, you don’t just put in all the ingredients at the same time. You add in pieces at different times.”