Walking To Work Is Healthy For A Retail Economy (Bisnow)

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Pedestrian commuting will burn extra calories, provide mental clarity — and, it turns out, help retailers make more money.

On the heels of National Walk to Work Day, it is clear that hoofing it to the office has multiple health benefits. But walkable urbanism can also be healthy for a local retail economy. Urban planning experts all over the country are busy designing the ultimate pedestrian experience, which can be so seamless that all a typical passer-by knows is the desire to wander into that nearby restaurant or shop. Commercial properties in walkable urban locations pay off, with a higher value of 40% to 140% per SF over a drivable suburban product; additionally, rents are 20% to 100% higher.

“Pedestrians not only generate direct sales, they create a magnetism that makes a place more inviting, which in turn yields more sales,” Streetsense Director of Real Estate Michael Smith said.

Streetsense is a Washington, D.C.-based CBRE joint venture company that specializes in creating consumer experiences.

“Retail is the most engaging use for the ground floor of a building. That’s not to say it’s always the right use, but when there’s demand for it, there’s no better way to activate the ground plane. Retail and food and beverage bring people in … at all times throughout the week. People crave — some even demand — authenticity, and walkable retail environments are the most authentic.”

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