Report: Stable housing mix Downtown, but room for improvement

Downtown’s population is getting wealthier and older.

Over the next 5 years, the number of people who live Downtown with incomes above 100,000 is expected to grow more than 60 percent

The number of Downtown residents age 55 or older is expected to grow about 70 percent in the next 5 years.

Those are some of the findings in a comprehensive housing report prepared over the last year by the Center City Commission. It revealed Downtown has one of the most diverse, stable and growing residential bases in Shelby County.

The area’s housing mix has laid a foundation to support the big tent of population growth Downtown backers want to encourage. It runs the gamut from pricey South Bluff condos to single family homes in Uptown to mid-range apartments on Mud Island.

But there are strengths and weaknesses. Downtown, for example, could do a better job providing affordable housing options.

Findings in the report, such as the increasing age and wealth of Downtown residents, will help developers and policymakers in several areas. Singles and older residents, for example, are not as likely to need as large and as affordable a housing unit as a family, for example.

The CCC – the agency that guides Downtown development via tax breaks and financial incentives for residential and commercial development – will soon put the report into a final form and begin folding it into its policy discussions and decisions.

It’s a good time to have that data tucked away, ready to refer to. The CCC will soon choose a new president to replace Jeff Sanford, a decision that will have broad implications for Downtown.

A bevy of new retail is coming soon to Downtown, including a new gourmet grocery store at the corner of Main and Union scheduled to open in a little more than a month.

Detailed findings on who lives Downtown – and what populations will grow or drop in the future – will help guide decisions that affect activity like that.

Dansette

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