GREENSBORO, N.C. -- In the 99 blocks that make up the central core of Downtown Greensboro, only about 2,600 people live there. According to Downtown Greensboro Incorporated President Zack Matheny, that’s less than 1 percent of the city’s population -- and that's a problem.
“With all the excitement downtown has throughout the country, much less Greensboro, we are way below average on the amount of folks that live downtown,” he said.
That’s why Matheny has commissioned an Atlanta and Maryland-based professional research company to do a $12,000 residential feasibility study on the downtown area.
“What this will give me is a tool to say this shows the data is there if you invest your money to build residential downtown, there is a demand for it,” he said.
The study will begin on Feb. 20 and run for eight weeks. It will examine everything about the current downtown housing landscape including the number of units available, their location, size, type, and price.
Regional Vice President of Allen Tate Realtors Tony Jarrett says right now there is not enough supply to meet the demand and interest of people to live downtown.
“Across our city, we need more and more inventory, sales are way up right now and we need more listings but when you come into downtown it shrinks somewhat because there's just not a lot of product,” he said.
Matheny says new downtown housing will also attract the coveted millennials and recent college graduates.
But people are also looking to buy in the central business district. Jarrett says sales in the 27401 area code of Greensboro, which encompasses downtown, are up 25% in the last year.
“A lot of people want the demand of the lifestyle where they can walk out their door, go one or two blocks and they're at the restaurant they have that evening and they go right back home," he said.
Matheny says people are always curious about what the next big downtown development will be but says before the city can get there, more people need to call it home first.
"Folks that want to build their business downtown need 24/7 residents to support their establishments downtown before some of the larger things might come downtown," Matheny said.