Robert Gibbs, Urban Planner:
'Downtown Retailing and Merchandising for the 21st Century City'
North Palm Beach Country Club, Feb. 2 , 2016 presentation
Related: North Palm Beach Master Plan , The History of North Palm Beach
By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life/ firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the country's leading authorities on urban planning and design had an overarching message for North Palm Beach residents who attended his presentation Tuesday night:
Robert Gibbs said North Palm Beach needs a "walkable town center" if the Village wants to align itself with current living trends and the Millennial generation.
Gibbs, here as part of the initiative to produce a 10-year blueprint for the city's future, talked about the trends that are shaping shopping and living in the 21st Century.
Why is walkability important? Millennials don't want to get in a car every time they need bread or milk, or just want a coffee. They want to walk to shopping whenever possible, Gibbs said. That translates to more urban living spaces, including housing built on top of retail shops.
Most real estate listings now have a "walk score," denoting how much shopping and entertainment is within walking distance. "A score of 85 and higher is what investors are looking for," Gibbs said. "A score of 100 is perfect." He cited Nantucket has one of a 1,000 places in the United States that has a perfect score.
How does North Palm Beach rank? According to Gibbs, the Village score is 59. But the good news is, North Palm Beach "has the perfect demographic for a high walk score."
Gibbs pointed out the new Doris Italian Market, which opened last week, would be perfect as part of a town center, "if it were walkable."
What is the impact of walkable retail? Gibbs offered this:
" Homes within a 5-or 10-minute walk from a Starbucks have a 18-20% higher value." The same benefit also applies to homes near a Whole Foods.
Here are some other key points from his presentation:
Robert Gibbs - Bio