Building Beyond Walls  - Lancaster Chamber of Commerce
Building Beyond Walls 

By Brad Mowbray Senior Vice President, Managing Director – Residential Division High Real Estate Group, LLC
A feature piece from our Spring 2024 issue of the Lancaster Thriving Publication.

Access to adequate housing has long been viewed as a basic human right and is considered an integral factor for the enjoyment of other economic, health, and social benefits. It is commonly accepted that the well-being of both individuals and families is substantially affected by the stability and quality of their housing.   

While the connection between housing and social well-being is widely recognized, the positive economic impact housing developments have on the local community is often overlooked and understated when projects are being considered. The ability to attract new companies while sustaining a vibrant and growing community where businesses can thrive requires a robust and stable workforce.  Employers’ abilities to attract and retain workers relies on having quality, affordable housing, and inclusive neighborhoods. It is incumbent upon community leaders to create an environment where the supply of housing adequately meets current and future workforce demands. This means adding housing stock of different types and price points. 

Multifamily development, especially in close proximity to employment centers, helps reduce the amount of land needed for housing and shortens commutes, allowing families to spend more time together. Since apartments are a higher-density housing type, they can accommodate more people per square foot than lower-density single-family homes. As part of a mixed-use development, apartments support the retail and commercial businesses, improving residents’ quality of life with walkable amenities. High-density residential development also promotes open space conservation. 

Opponents to higher-density projects believe the myth that apartment developments put undue pressure on local school systems and raise homeowner taxes. In fact, we have found that multifamily projects place far less pressure on school systems than single-family home developments. Our recent projects in Lancaster County have school-aged children living in less than 2% of new units. These developments add to the tax base without bringing a commensurate cost to the local school and municipality.  

While not as traffic intensive as retail and commercial uses, it’s not uncommon for multifamily projects to support offsite road improvements, as well as local and regional trails for bike and pedestrian use. Connectivity with regional trails is sound environmental, recreational, and transportation planning. Mixed-use developments often incorporate roadway, public parks, and infrastructure improvements that benefit the entire community. For example, the Crossings at Conestoga Creek project included $11M of roadway and signal enhancements that improved traffic flow and reduced wait times along the busy Harrisburg Pike corridor by 33%. 

To further demonstrate the economic impact housing has on a community, a study by the National Association for Home Builders (NAHB) found that a 100-unit multifamily development project in a typical suburban market results in the creation of 49 jobs, $2.9M in recurring income, and $0.8M in annual tax revenue for the local municipality. This is in addition to $12.4M and 170 jobs related to the initial construction activity.   

Growth is not always thought of positively by neighbors, but when considered with the greater good of the community in mind, the direct and indirect economic benefits attributed to new multifamily developments help to create a vibrant and sustainable future for our community. 

Please attribute the photo to High Real Estate Group and Photole. This is The Crossings at Conestoga Creek, with The Crossings residential featured in the background. 


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