The rise of millenials and the aging of baby boomers are the national market forces most likely to impact real estate here in Jacksonville.
That’s Fred Schmidt’s bet.
The national president of Coldwell Banker Commercial, Schmidt shared his insights with the Daily Record while attending a regional conference for his company in Jacksonville.
Florida has long been a market for retirees. But its quality of life, urban centers and business-friendly policies mean the state now also has the power to attract the emerging millienials workforce as well.
“The next generation coming to Florida as an employment base is where I see a tremendous opportunity for Jacksonville,” he said.
When opening a new location, the major costs companies grapple with have always been employees, information technology and real estate, said Schmidt, who spent his career doing corporate relocations.
For millenials, quality of life matters more than it did to past generations. So, quality of life is going to affect a company’s ability to attract employees more and more.
Florida benefits from beaches and a mild climate. And Jacksonville has the ingredients to deliver the live-work-play experience millenials favor, with its Downtown riverfront and first steps at urban renewal, seen in projects like Unity Plaza.
Jacksonville should build its transit system, though, Schmidt said, to offer more convenient access to the amenities millenials will want to enjoy.
When it comes to aging baby boomers, Jacksonville also has a positive story to tell, Schmidt said.
Its Mayo Clinic sits at the top of a list of world-class health centers.
Jacksonville offers boomers a place where they can work for the next 15 to 20 years and then retire without having to move when health issues occur.
“Northeast Florida answers that question,” Schmidt said. “Mayo Clinic has a worldwide reputation and it’s in an easily accessible place.”
Boomers will also figure highly into the Jacksonville workforce, Schmidt said.
“It’s an underestimated phenomenon — boomers are not all retiring,” he said. “People turning 60, 65 and 70 are going to continue to want to work, but maybe not at the scale that they did before.”