Instant Insights / Vision 2020


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In a prestigious office tower minutes away from Philadelphia’s City Hall in the heart of its downtown, you can find a Primrose school, one of a national system of accredited private preschools. You can also find one at a 53-acre mixed-use community in Brookhaven, GA, which features residential units and 66,000 square feet of retail space. In the Grant Park submarket of Atlanta, there is a Primrose School occupying the space where an obsolete warehouse used to sit.

Move over street-level retail and green walking trails. The latest amenity for mixed-use projects is a school, according to Jo Kirchner, CEO of the educational institution. There are more than 25 million children under the age of 5 living in the US today and the majority of their families live in child care deserts, she explains. Which is certainly of interest to city and school officials, but mixed-use developers? Yes, Kirchner says. “Primrose schools, for instance, draw in parents twice-a-day, five-days-a-week, many of whom are higher-income millennials—the most active generation of homebuyers in the nation.”

You have to hand it to Kirchner. She may well have pinpointed the emergence of the latest CRE trend. Kirchner is usually buried in the day-to-day operations of her role but as the end of the year nears, her thoughts—and ours—turn to 2020 and what big-picture changes we will see.

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Erika Morphy


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