Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
I By SAMANTHA MEHLINGER Long Beach Business Journal S cott Laurie is the President and Chief Executive Officer for The Olson Company which he joined in 2007. In this interview he discusses the concept of urban living why homebuyers gravitate towards that lifestyle and why it is a priority for The Olson Company. QWhat appeals to todays buyers about urban living The primary appeal with urban living has to do with improving an individuals use of available time something that carries a premium in our busy daily schedules. Urban living can improve your life by reducing commute times having walkable access to local amenities eliminating the constant need for a vehicle improving health through exercise providing more leisure time with family and friends and identifying a lifestyle balance that complements your interests hobbies and even your career. For many people living in an urban community is also about employment providing reduced drive times to and from work and allowing more time to spend in close proximity to your home. When people arrive home from work most individuals do not want to get back into their cars for trips to the market dry cleaners pharmacy or dining. It is nice to be able to walk or get on your bike for exercise and be at your destination in a matter of minutes. Having the ability to open your front door at an Olson community and walk somewhere is very important to our company. This is a primary focus and the reason why every one of our community names ends with Walk which actually contributes to generating high walkability scores for each of them. We want some type of activity happening outside your front door. Its about convenience. Urban living and convenience go hand in hand when done properly. The Millennials our youngest demographic segment are a generation who are driving less and are clearly not dependent on vehicles the way Boomers and other segments are. Since 1995 the share of automotive miles driven by 25-32 year olds has dropped from 20.8 to 13.7 according toA.P.T.A.The recent and continued success of Uber and other driving services as a means of local transportation is testimony to driving trends changing through technology and less reliance on per- sonal automobiles in the urban markets. Those metropolitan areas that have not planned for walking communities will lose future economic opportunities. As I mentioned urban living is not a new phenomenon it dates back to the 1800s in the United States when urban development first took off. Urban living offered the working class an affordable housing option within close proximity to large companies and industries as well as shopkeeper units for small family run businesses. Cities across America including NewYork Chicago Denver Seattle San Francisco and Los Angeles all had developed major in-town urban neighborhood villages such as Queens the Bronx Chinatown the Waterfront and the Fashion District to name a few. Todays coastal population growth coupled with a shortage of available land to develop has set a premium on urban living and the subsequent population growth of these areas. QWhat are the benefits of urban living By improving ones lifestyle there is a direct correlation to health benefits because of the walkability and exercise opportunities that can be found in urban communities and neighborhoods. This can include getting on a bike running or swimming as well as access to amenities right outside your front door. The biggest benefit to urban living is diversity and culture. You have to embrace diversity to enjoy urban living. This includes people but also can include architecture the arts and the expression of history imbedded in local parks and museums. It seems as though there is never enough time to see everything and activities are endless and continually changing. Most urban areas have well known alley districts where cars have become obsolete enhancing the overall walking experience. Olson is also recognizing and benefitting our environment with the reuse of land for the communities we are creating. Most of the land we develop has at one time or another had a previous use such as industrial commercial retail or agricultural. In many cases the land its building or structure has been blighted or vacant and the proposed redevelopment of an Olson community is generally supported by the city and local residents to reinvigorate a specific area. The majority of our communities are LEED-certified and we focus on energy efficiency and conservation from the early entitlement stages. We want to be good stewards of the land and the entitlements we are providing the community for decades to come. Q How do you define urban living To me urban living is clearly defined as a high energy lifestyle that continues to evolve with each generation. Urban living is not a new phenomenon to Southern California. People were living in a very urban environment in Los Angeles in the early 1900s with public transportation retail corridors high density projects and livework housing. I grew up in Los Angeles and have never left having a great appreciation for being in close proximity to numerous amenities including shopping entertainment museums schools and recreation. Today I continue to live work and spend most of my time in an urban environment not far from where I was raised. This provides me the direct access to the services of which I am accustomed to living in the heart of the city.The impact is different now that I have my own family and am able to even further utilize accessibility to all the conven- iences urban living has to offer from public transportation to neighborhood retail. We live in a truly active and walkable neighborhood. There is constant movement and activities in our community which means we walk in our neighborhood ride our bikes to the beach walk the dog and kids to the park shop and dine at local restaurants and live close to friends and family. Urban living means youre in the center of it all. For me its all about four Cs culture change character and convenience. Today we work in a dynamic environment enabled by communicative technologies. People are working longer hours which can also include significantly longer commute times. Urban living allows a walkable reprieve from our auto- 10 Urban Living A QA With Olson Company President CEO Scott Laurie Scott Laurie is President and CEO of The Olson Company. 2015_OlsonCompanyInTownLiving_PortAnniversary 8815 117 PM Page 10