Millennials Want to be in Delaware. Here's Why.
It's been a long slog out of the recession for Delaware, but the market's dynamic again, according to the speakers at Bisnow's Future of Delaware Real Estate. The region's even starting to be attractive to that demographic that everyone wants, Millennials.
Snapped: Delaware Economic Development Office Secretary Alan Levin. Our speakers explained that the local expansion of the financial services industry has been critical to the new dynamic of Delaware real estate. MBNA kicked things off, but in more recent years, a dozen or more financial powerhouses have made Wilmington a center of industry activity. The event was, fittingly enough, held at the Chase Center on the Waterfront.
Here, The Buccini/Pollin Group co-president Chris Buccini. JC Morgan, Capital One, Citibank and others haven't just opened up offices in Downtown and the suburbs, they've been growing, our speakers noted. One of the main initial attractions is a much less expensive cost of doing business, even in Downtown, especially when compared with Manhattan or northern NJ.
Here, City of Wilmington director Jeff Flynn. The city's attracting more than just financial service companies, our speakers said, with its employment base expanding and diversifying. That's helping attract more members of an important demographic: Millennials.
We snapped Harvey, Hanna & Associates COO Thomas Hanna. A lot of young graduates (UD grads, for instance) are still leaving Delaware, but that's changing, speakers said. Besides more attractive jobs in the area, Downtown will soon feature a larger stock of apartments geared toward that demographic. For instance, Market Street is now a hub of activity, with obsolete buildings being redeveloped into Millennial-friendly apartments.
Here, Benesch partner Joy Barrist, who moderated. Gone are the days when the cost of living was the only consideration for employers and employees, though it's still important. Millennials, according to our speakers, are looking for a place that provides a work-life balance, and an office that's a collaborative work environment in a walkable location. As office space is redesigned and new urban restaurants and retailers open, Downtown Wilmington's increasingly able to offer that kind of environment.
We snapped CBRE SVP John Kaczowka. Downtown's heating up, but so are Wilmington's northern suburbs, our panelists said. It's been a tenants' market, but more recently, occupancies are up, and large blocks of Class-A space are particularly hard to find. The upshot? New office development is on the horizon.
Here, University of Delaware real estate director Andrew Lubin. The goal at the university's STAR campus—Science, Technology and Advanced Research—on the site of a former former auto assembly plant—is to be a center of innovation, focusing on research in health science, cybersecurity and alternative energy. Already there are UD's Health Sciences Complex and its eV2g project, along with Bloom Energy's East Coast fuel cell manufacturing center.