Baby boomers leaving suburbs for fun in the city

As a large and wealthy generation, Boomers are opting to forgo suburban life for city amenitites

As the baby boomer generation ages, many are forgoing their suburban lifestyle to live in the busier cities, close to urban amenities

ATLANTA—Twenty years ago, it seemed everyone was moving out into the suburbs. And now, depending on who you talk to, everyone is moving back to the city.

That’s especially true among baby boomers, those of us born between 1946 and 1964.


Their nests are empty. They are over the big houses, with big lawns and swimming pools in constant need of maintenance. And when you happen to be one of the largest generations — an estimated 74.9 million of us in the United States — and the wealthiest generation ever to retire, developers and businesses start to notice.

Andy Isakson first noticed back in the ‘90s.

At the time, he said, his parents were looking at their retirement options, and although they had spent nearly their entire lives in real estate, they never found what they wanted.

When his father passed, Isakson and his siblings took turns caring for their mother, who had dementia.

“Over the last five years of her life, she had to move five times,” said Isakson.

Each time the disease progressed, the siblings were forced to move her to a place better suited to care for her.

“From a consumer standpoint, I knew there had to be a better way,” Isakson said.

In 2002, eight years after his mother passed away, Isakson opened Park Springs, a resort-style retirement community adjacent to Stone Mountain Park. He is poised to open Peachtree Hills Place, a second smaller community for those 55 and older in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, next summer.

“Location is everything in real estate,” said Kevin Isakson, principal for Isakson Living and Andy Isakson’s nephew. “We’ve always known there was a strong demand for this intown offering for folks who don’t want to abandon their urban lifestyle.”

Peachtree Hills Place will come complete with restaurants, a fitness center, indoor swimming pool and health clinic, the one thing his parents needed most.

Andy Isakson, 65, grew up in Brookhaven, Ga., with two other siblings, including U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. He graduated from the old Dykes High School, now Sutton Middle School, before heading to Vanderbilt University, where he earned an economics degree in 1974.

He abandoned city life for the suburbs the moment he returned, married and started building a family, which by the way, are all the things that tend to tie people down.

It helped, of course, that there was no traffic but, well, that was then.

Just as the traffic patterns changed, so too have populations.

For several decades before the 2000 census, the city of Atlanta, for instance, had been steadily losing population. Then from 2010-2017, it grew by 7 per cent, adding 9,900 new residents in the past year compared to 4,800 the year before.

Atlantans, 60 years and older, currently make up 10 per cent of the population, and that number is expected to double by 2030, making Atlanta one of the fastest-aging cities in America.

How many are migrating back into the city?

That’s hard to say, said Mike Alexander, director of the Center for Livable Communities at the Atlanta Regional Commission.

“The hard data really isn’t there, but I think like everyone else anecdotally we do see a trend of people moving back to the core,” Alexander said. “I see it all around me personally.”

Gregg Logan, managing director of RCLCO, a real estate advisory services firm that does market research for real estate companies all over the country, said the journey back into town is a big enough trend that there is a ready market for developers and others targeting boomers.

While about half of boomers who retire are happy to age in place, Logan said that about 15 per cent opt to move into the city to partake in urban amenities like restaurants, shopping, culture, all the things you find are more prevalent in the city and that Isakson points to.

And even if Buckhead is out of the question economically, downtown Duluth, Suwanee or Roswell may be within reach.

“There’s a ‘want-driven’ market and a ‘need-driven’ market,” Logan said. “The want-driven market is lifestyle oriented, they’re active adults age 55 to 65 moving back in town to have fun, socialize and enjoy all the urban amenities. That’s the market we’re seeing the biggest uptick in the market for. They’ve decided ‘urban’ is more exciting than living in the suburbs.

“The need-driven market includes those in their late 60s or older who move to independent living communities, where there is meal service, and those in their 70s or older who move to an assisted living facility. ALFs offer meal service and varying degrees of assistance with daily living, including skilled nursing and memory care. That’s a different, more medically driven market.”

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Peachtree City’s newest industry brings 20 jobs

SILON representatives were joined by govenment and industry guests at the April 12 ribbon-cutting at the company’s $20 million industrial plant in Peachtree City. Pictured, from left, are SILON Plant Manager Scott Whiteside, CFO Dr. Bernd Morawitz, CEO Dr. Wolfgang Riediger, COO Drahomir Koudelka and Technical Services and QA Manager Carl Mahabir. Photo/Submitted.

The ribbon-cutting for Peachtree City’s newest industry was held on April 12. SILON, a leading producer of technical compounds and polyester staple fibers, will create more than 20 jobs and invest $20 million in a new Peachtree City facility located off Ga. Highway 74 South.

Above, SILON representatives were joined by government and industry guests at the April 12 ribbon-cutting at the company’s $20 million industrial plant in Peachtree City. Pictured, from left, are SILON Plant Manager Scott Whiteside, CFO Dr. Bernd Morawitz, CEO Dr. Wolfgang Riediger, COO Drahomir Koudelka and Technical Services and QA Manager Carl Mahabir. Photo/Submitted.

“SILON is thrilled to open a new production site here in the U.S.,” said Dr. Wolfgang Riediger, company CEO. “This will bring us one step closer to our U.S. customers so we can better suit their needs.”

The SILON facility on Sierra Drive off Hwy. 74 South will be used for manufacturing, warehousing and storage purposes. The newly created jobs include positions in engineering, management and production.

Headquartered in the Czech Republic, SILON produces and sells polyolefin-based performance compounds and polyester fibers for use in the construction, automotive, and medical industries, among others.

“On behalf of Peachtree City, I am so pleased to welcome SILON to our Industrial Park,” Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch said in a previous statement. “Peachtree City’s many industries play a vital role in making this great community, and we appreciate the investment SILON is making here. We look forward to working with SILON as they expand their business in our wonderful city.”

Commenting on the arrival of SILON in Peachtree City, Gov. Nathan Deal in a previous statement said, “Georgia’s top-ranked business environment continues to attract international firms like SILON to our state. In choosing Fayette County for this facility, SILON will find the logistics infrastructure and well-trained workforce necessary to support customers in a range of industries. I’m pleased to welcome SILON to the growing number of international companies creating jobs for Georgians and investing in our communities.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Project Manager Joseph Huntemann represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with the Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA).

“The Fayette County Development Authority was pleased to partner with SILON to assist in its location in Peachtree City and Fayette County,” said FCDA Chairman Darryl Hicks. “SILON will be a great asset for our community, both from the job perspective and for the capital investment they will add to our economy. In addition, we look forward to the cultural experiences that will be exchanged as a result of this international company’s addition to our family.”

SILON was founded in 1950 as a state-owned company near Tabor, Czech Republic, and is now one of the top producers of polyester fibers and polyolefin based compounds in Europe. SILON specializes in tailor-made solutions, creating products with very specific properties for a wide range of applications, according to SILON.

“We are excited to welcome SILON to Georgia, as they join a league of elite companies with manufacturing operations in the state,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We’ve become a global destination for international companies who are looking to drive innovation and expand their global footprint. I look forward to the success SILON will see in Peachtree City.”

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Earth Fare to close two metro Atlanta grocery stores – Greensboro – Triad Business Journal

Asheville-based natural foods grocer Earth Fare Inc. is closing two of its metro Atlanta stores due to “real estate challenges.”

The stores in Peachtree Corners and at the Emory Point development (near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will close at the end of the month.

“As part of Earth Fare’s strategy for accelerated growth, we have carefully reviewed our existing portfolio of store locations and made the difficult decision to close our Peachtree Corners and Emory Point locations. Despite the hard work of our team members, the real estate challenges associated with these locations have proven too difficult to overcome. Both stores will continue to serve customers through March 31,” said the grocer in a prepared statement.

Atlanta Business Chronicle had reported in 2013 that Earth Fare was scouting metro Atlanta for its first locations. It opened its Peachtree Corners location in early 2015, with Emory Point following that summer.

One metro Atlanta store remains in Cumming. Earth Fare also has locations in Athens and near Augusta, Ga.

Metro Atlanta in recent years has seen its greatest wave of grocery store openings since the 1990s, fueled by population growth and the trend of more people moving back into the city.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reported last fall that nearly 75 new grocery stores had opened in metro Atlanta over a two-year period.

Earth Fare has 10 stores across North Carolina, including one in the Triad that it renovated last year. It is closing stores just as grocery chains now are competing head to head and are facing their greatest period of innovation, with the growth of new technologies allowing consumers to shop online for produce and packaged goods.

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Homeless At Peachtree-Pine Shelter Will Be Transitioned In ‘Humane Manner’: Group

Homeless At Peachtree-Pine Shelter Will Be Transitioned In ‘Humane Manner’: Group

ATLANTA, GA — In the wake of news that one of Atlanta’s most visible homeless shelters will close its doors this fall, its purchaser, Central Atlanta Progress, and seller, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, now are faced with the task of finding other places for hundreds of men and women to stay. Continue reading →