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11 infused lives by having everything in close proximity. A quick walk or bike ride gives substantial access to a variety of amenities within the urban corridor. While not restricted to a specific demographic or age group urban living can also provide numerous health benefits given the walkable nature of most urban neighborhood locations throughout Southern California. Urban living is ultimately being able to have everything at your fingertips. It represents the walkable integration of jobs transportation housing entertainment retail services and other desired amenities. In many cases it is 247 living with the ability to experience a full range of activities around the clock. QWhat sorts of homebuyers are choosing to live in urban communities Urban residents are not classified as one segment of the population. We see a very diverse group of buyers in age ethnicity and household formations. Our buyers are as diverse as the product that is being built in these urban locations. We see younger singles and professional couples young families single parents middle-aged and empty-nester buyers. We cover a broad spectrum in our buyer pool but tend to focus on the Gen X GenY and Boomer demographic categories and design our communities to accommodate their preferences and lifestyle. We encounter some homebuyers in their 20s and early 30s the Millennial buyer who gravitate to urban living and can be supported in the purchase decision and financing in many instances by parents. Recent statistics indicate it is likely we will see more Millennials step into the urban home market once they have identified and connect with a neighborhood location and feel more comfortable after reducing personal debt such as student loans. As Millennials are aging getting married and having children they will become a stronger contributing factor in the home buying market as their lifestyles change. While the urban homebuyer group is very broad in classification the common theme among buyers of all ages categories and ethnicities is the convenience of living in town having immediate access and walkability to be close to every- thing the amenities and the excitement and diversity. Q Do you think there has been a shift over the years in which more homebuyers are prioritizing walkability and access to public transit Yes but the process is still evolving. First off public transit is not a new concept as we had an incredible transit system here in Southern California decades ago with the Red Car that provided connection throughout the region. Pacific Electric known as the Red Car system was a privately owned mass transit system in Southern California consisting of streetcars light rail and buses and was the largest electric railway system in the world in the 1920s. Organized around the urban city centers of Los Angeles and San Bernardino it connected cities in Los Angeles County Orange County San Bernardino County and Riverside County and was utilized for commuters to and from work shopping dining entertainment and of course recreation. With the advent of the freeway in the 1950s and the attrac- tion to personal vehicles local transit lost its mass appeal. Today I see people embracing public transit again in Southern California. Part of that has to do with the expansion and availability of transit routes which will certainly continue. The Gold Line originating in San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena into the Downtown L.A. area is fantastic and has helped with the resurgence of Downtown L.A. and surrounding neighborhoods. The Blue Line can also connect riders into Downtown L.A. Metro Link has done a great job but we need more support more awareness and of course more lines especially in the Orange County area which currently has no connectivity. Over the past 12 months public transit grew to the highest number of rides in its history with total ridership up 39.0 since 1995 according to A.P.T.A. For every 1.00 spent on public transit it generates 4.00 in economic returns. For every 1 billion spent it sustainably supports and creates 20000 jobs. Every 10 million in capital investment in public transit yields 30 million in increased business sales. And most importantly the data suggests home values are 42.0 higher if located within a 2-mile radius of a high frequency transportation center. There is a need for residents throughout the region to recognize the value of not utilizing a vehicle for their local and regional trips by providing riders with convenient and frequent schedules and ensuring transit offers a safe environment. This change in perception requires infrastructure process training aggressive marketing including through social media and word of mouth advertising to all demographic segments that it is cool to ride transit again. I heard a great comment recently In LosAngeles everybody wants everybody else to use public transportation.This makes total sense as Californians have an affinity and love for the automobile . . . we are a car culture. The thing is even people who use mass transit still tend to have a car. What I think has changed is families have fewer cars today and will actually consider the benefit of mass transit. Statistics show that kids today are also not as hard pressed to obtain their drivers license at 16 drive their own car and realize their independence. Unlike kids of my generation who drove as soon as they were legally able to today kids rely on parents friends or other modes of transportation. Q Urban living is often charac- terized in media as largely a lifestyle for younger single gener- ations. What are some reasons families and retirees might choose to live in urban communities I dont necessarily agree that its just younger people who are attracted to an urban lifestyle as you see people in their 40s 50s empty nesters and active retirees who move back to urban neighborhoods for the convenience change and culture part of the 4 Cs. People want to be able to walk go to a favorite restaurant listen to music go to the theatre visit a museum and be in an environment where the action is. Once again Downtown L.A. has been the biggest benefactor of this change in the current real estate cycle. For families one of the primary issues has been the quality of schools. Urban liv- ing and education have not always gone hand in hand but there is evidence of a re- newed focus on schools in urban areas.There certainly is room for improvement. We look at school scores for every community in which we build so we are very aware of what the family buyers are looking for and what their options can be. With more emphasis being placed on education and more jobs being created closer to the coast in California we are seeing a strong desire by potential homebuyers to return to the urban core. This is not a new phenomenon and has been seen for many decades in New York San Francisco and Chicago. Q Is there anything you would like to add Urban living for us at The Olson Company is who we are and what we do . . . its all the things we talked about previously. We are neither entrepreneurial nor opportunistic in where we build but strategic. We spend a tremendous amount of time looking at the key metrics and statistics in each community area looking at household incomes jobs commute times to employment centers transportation school scores crime and inventory. All of those elements play into our consideration process when selecting a community project. Look at our web site and the cities we are building in today. We only develop in three markets the San Gabriel Valley South Bay around LAX and North Orange County. They all have the characteristics mentioned above when we are looking to acquire land. Being fact based we utilize the available metrics we discussed for approving a community. Equally as important is what we build for singles couples families and empty nester buyers. We want to understand where they want to live but also what type of home they desire to purchase. The matching of community and homebuyer profiles is a real skill set of our company. We pride ourselves on our ability to design and build communities that will be in place for many generations. We see tremendous opportunity for the future of urban infill and look forward to our next 28 years building in-town walkable communities. I Increasingly potential homebuyers are returning to the urban core. 2015_OlsonCompanyInTownLiving_PortAnniversary 8815 117 PM Page 11