Last week, I wrote about U2 and how they brought their show closer to more people, giving them a better experience, and I encouraged landlords to do the same with amenities.
This morning, I am sitting on a bench in the Wall Street section of Manhattan and I am staring at a line of food trucks. These aren’t the grease trucks of my youth. These are high end food trucks offering Thai food, Indian food, and lobster rolls, as well as the more traditional offerings like cheesesteaks and hoagies.
The last time I was in the neighborhood for a meeting, I paid $12 for a sandwich and didn’t think twice about it. The convenience of being able to grab something on the go, coupled with the great looking truck, made it seem like a better alternative than sitting down for lunch or even finding a local deli.
These are restauranteurs without traditional restaurants, and they are bringing their product as close to the consumer as they can.
We are a society seeking convenience. Where can I get it faster and easier is the question. It’s not always about cheaper, but that can obviously be a factor also.
This morning, I used LYFT to get from the Upper West Side to Wall Street, and they charged me $5. The subway costs $2.75. For an extra $2.25, the driver picked me up, drove me exactly where I wanted to go, and there was even air conditioning. More important than the price were the convenience and the better experience.
Certain amenities and conveniences are limited to urban areas as they provide the dense population needed to make the business viable. While there are food trucks in some suburban office parks, there certainly isn’t a line of trucks stretching around the block. However, as I stare at nine different food trucks in a one block radius, it’s obvious that the demand exists here.
While it’s been written over and over that the millennials are flocking to urban cities and don’t want to work in the suburbs, who can blame them? I know plenty of baby boomers who have sold their suburban homes after raising their families and moved to New York City. Why? For the convenience and experience that the city offers.
The urban experience certainly isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of people who enjoy suburban life and are happy to trade the convenience and offerings of city life for a quiet street with a big yard and a picket fence. But as I sit here in amazement at not only the volume of people, but the amount of commerce in such a small space, it’s obvious to me.
City life isn’t just for the cool kids.
By: Jeremy Neuer
Senior Vice President | CBRE New Jersey