Throughout day one, the energy was palpable. We felt it as we flew to Raleigh on a chartered flight. It was an unforgettably unique experience to be on a flight with 80 other passengers all headed to the same destination with the same mission in mind.
As we boarded the buses and headed to our first session, the conversations never stopped. The energy hadn’t waned, and I do not anticipate it waning for the duration of our trip. I expect this energy to carry on for long past the trip as our travelers bring home the ideas and excitement of the possibilities they find.
I have heard several of our travelers mention that the word is “inspiration”. What a powerful statement.
From the airport, we headed to the North Hills area to hear a presentation from John Kane of Kane Realty – the group that brought, and continues to bring, inspiration to life. Kane Realty took a mall, failing due to lack of proper management, and with all the stars properly aligned, created a multi-use, mixed-density, urban corridor that is highly successful and highly supported by the region.
The North Hills project offers many lessons, for instance:
- Talent acquisition drives corporate location decisions
- Talent is a top priority for many organizations, and having the ability to provide employees with the ability to live, work and play with ease makes acquiring needed talent that much easier.
- Peoples lives got easier, not worse, after the first phase of development
- While opposition was prevalent initially, once the initial phase of North Hills was complete, residents saw an immediate increase in not just property value, but quality of life. Suddenly residents believed in the project and supported it.
- Mixed-use and appropriate density creates extraordinarily life efficiencies.
- Employees can complete more in a day simply because of the proximity of their work to their home and needed retail. It is easier to fit in a quick workout or dinner with a friend, not to mention the decrease in time spent on the road stuck in traffic. I’m not sure about you, but when I’m not stuck in traffic for an hour trying to get to work, I’m much happier and much more productive.
- Creation of community
- Kane Realty invested and continues to invest not just in this project, but into the community. North Hills contains parks and green spaces, providing space for people to congregate and truly appreciate the space. Plus, they hold free events throughout the year, amping up the fun and sense of community – truly making it a prime example of live, work and play.