Baby Boomers Embrace the Live-Work-Play Lifestyle

Christopher Brown, co-developer of Giralda Place, talked to CPE about the new mixed-use development underway in downtown Coral Gables, as well as how the project appeals to Baby Boomers.
Christopher Brown, co-developer of Giralda Place
Christopher Brown, co-developer of Giralda Place

The live-work-play trend no longer appeals only to Millennials—the Baby Boomer generation has already started retiring from the suburbs to the cities, but they have begun capitalizing on the flexibility the live-work-play setting has to offer.

Christopher Brown, co-developer of one of the newest mixed-use developments in Coral Gables, Fla., spoke to Commercial Property Executive about Giralda Place and how the project caters to Baby Boomers, as well as why this group is an important demographic to consider for developers. Giralda Place encompasses a full city block and is slated for delivery in early 2018.

The live-work-play trend no longer appeals only to Millennials—it’s becoming a sought-after lifestyle by Baby Boomers as well. What do you think are the reasons behind this trend?

Brown: The Baby Boomer generation is working longer than generations before them and this group enjoys the convenience that a live-work-play community offers. Baby Boomers have typically retired from the suburbs to the city, but an extension of that is now the opportunity to do it all within a walk around the block. Technology is also changing the traditional office concept.

Interview quote 827x221 CPE Christoper “Cristo” Brown

At Giralda Place, we’re merging all of these elements into one development with luxury condos, office space and walkability to dining, shops and cultural activities.

What makes the Boomers an important demographic to consider for developers?

Brown: Baby Boomers are almost all in a transitional period, either about to become or are empty nesters. From the viewpoint of a condo developer, empty nesters equate to a large group of single-family homeowners looking to downsize. We’ve catered our project to this demographic specifically by building only 33 units. Not only do buyers have fewer neighbors, but it’s allowed us to design each floorplan to be larger than the traditional condo, as well as add terraces that are some of the most spacious in the area. Our goal was to create residences that still maintain the feeling of a home while removing arduous maintenance from the equation.

What are the ways this trend improves Boomers’ quality of life?

Brown: The easily accessible fitness offerings and cultural amenities in a downtown live-work-play setting keep both the mind and body active. The convenience of condo living also reduces the stressors that often come with homeownership.

Do you think Baby Boomers will change the face of the live-work-play environment?

Brown: Absolutely. However, the evolution isn’t just generational, it’s based on the convenience that this environment provides. Baby Boomers look to downsize in terms of their home, but also their business. This group has been demonstrating an interest in downsizing the offices they run to co-shared space because the business model is proving to be cost-effective, accommodating and desirably located. 

How will this affect the future of multifamily developments?

Brown: I believe that for a development to be competitive, you need to build more than just residences. Live-work-play is definitely an amenity to buyers, but it also provides value for developers, as it generates a revenue mix.

One of the major projects you are currently working on is Giralda Place in downtown Coral Gables. What makes this mixed-use development highly desirable for Baby Boomers?

Brown: We designed the condo portion of Giralda Place to be boutique. With only 33 units, the transition for Baby Boomers from a single-family home to a condo is easier. We also created about 10 multi-level units, which mirror the feeling of being in a home.

Interview quote 827x221 CPE Christoper “Cristo” Brown 02

In terms of walkability, we chose downtown Coral Gables because it offers a plethora of restaurants, shops, museums and theaters, all within a few blocks. To keep busy on weekends, there are neighborhood bike tours, state-of-the-art golf courses less than two miles away and easy access to Miami International Airport for quick getaways.

Images courtesy of Giralda Place