A new urban model of development is emerging in the Charleston commercial real estate market called “innovation districts.” There is a shift from the development of the past 50 years that promoted more isolated corporate campuses in suburbia, such as Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle Park.  More and more millennials desire to live in urban areas that integrate work, housing and recreation. This new urban model provides a mix of institutions, companies, schools, walkability, housing and retail in one area.

Innovation Districts Rising in Major US Cities

The Brookings Institution recently released a report about the rise in innovation districts in major cities in the US and around the world. Many cities are promoting these innovation districts in underutilized areas, particularly in older industrial parts of the city.

Innovation Districts Emerging in Healthcare and Tech Industries

There are several innovation districts emerging throughout the healthcare, and high tech industries in Charleston. The Horizon Project Foundation is launching a mixed used development plan for the health care and biomedical community. The Foundation is working in collaboration with the City of Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the MUSC Foundation to develop a 150,000 square foot office and research building, a building for retail space and a multifamily apartment building, all within walking distance and near the waterfront.

A high tech area is being developed in the Upper Peninsula with Charleston Digital Corridor’s (CDC) Flagship3 as the anchor tenant. The mixed use development is the third installment of CDC’s high tech hubs in the area. The latest innovation district will include startups as well as established companies, and will have housing, retail, cafes and restaurants in the mixed use development plan.

Another nearby innovation district in Charleston, Half Mile North, is the home to Blue Acorn, a tech company that recently moved into a 12,000 square foot former warehouse. This mixed use development plans to repurpose other warehouses, and small buildings to attract other high tech industries in the area. The Blue Acorn plans to expand into another 8000 square foot building to accommodate its growing staffing needs. The innovative district will offer parking, bike lanes, and other amenities.

If you are interested in commercial real estate in the Charleston, SC areas, let us at Caldwell Commercial provide you with our expert guidance in the local market. We can help you find the perfect location for your business. Email us today at info@caldwellcommerical.com to get started.

Source: Brookings Institute, “The Rise of Innovation Districts.” (Bruce Katz and Julie Wagner)