A couple of years ago at an NAI Global convention, I had the opportunity to meet Chris Lee with CEL Associates, a strategic planning firm. Recently, he published a report identifying more than 25 quantifiable factors/variables (highlighted below) that should be the discerning criteria for where and why to invest and capitalize on current emerging and long-term opportunities. He believes the U.S. is becoming a latticework of connective and inter-dependent opportunities that are more cloud-based than asphalt based. The list below highlights some of the factors.
Presence of major colleges and universities
Markets exhibiting population growth
Markets of interest to investors and lenders
Presence of major hospitals and healthcare facilities
Markets with high barriers to entry
Markets with growing and sustainable job growth
Tax/business friendly markets
Markets with cultural/entrepreneurial options
Markets attractive to out of town visitors
Creative class cities
Markets with sustainable economic growth
Markets with robust transit systems
Gateway markets with linkage to other markets
Markets exhibiting economic diversifications
Markets with branded charisma
Markets attractive to Millennials
High walkability score
Presence of development incentives
Proximity to ports and logistics hubs
Capital city – but not always the case.
Entertainment and sports venues
City leaders who place community interests first
There is a difference between markets of opportunity and markets of sheer size. No market will come away with all the characteristics and obviously some overlap. However, the dynamic, growth-based markets over the next decade will be based on perceived opportunities grounded in strong market and demographic fundamentals and positive attitude for growth. From technology to healthcare, from energy to financial services and from lifestyle to exceptionalism, the U.S. is becoming a nation without boundaries. Traditional means of quantifying demand are giving way to psychology and predictive analytics. Harnessing and harvesting a range of incredible opportunities requires patience, perseverance, focus, talent and leadership.