Crosland

Crosland Makes More Profitable Location Decisions Based on STI: PopStats™ Data

Crosland is one of the Southeast's leading diversified real estate development companies, with a wide range of properties — including retail sites, offices, apartment buildings, and mixed-use projects and developments. The real estate developer experienced significant growth in early 2000 after launching a strategic plan that called for geographic diversification and new growth initiatives beyond its original locations in North Carolina. Crosland's first major expansion plans led to new developments in Florida starting in 2004 and Tennessee in 2005.

Based on decades of experience using GIS tools to research markets, Crosland knew that it would need to leverage powerful GIS tools to make the smartest, most profitable decisions in new geographic areas. In particular, during the company's expansion into the Florida market, Crosland wanted to better understand the nuances of the state's unique population growth patterns. The company was introduced to STI: PopStats in 2005, and immediately put the quarterly population data to the test — and immediately experienced exceptional results in three markets.

"STI: PopStats' quarterly estimates significantly elevated our confidence in three new markets that were critical to our long-term growth plans," says Ken McWilliams, Crosland's Senior Research Analyst. "As a result, we're accelerating development of these key real estate investments today."

STI: PopStats Accelerates Retail Center Development

Poinciana is located 21 miles south of Orlando, Florida, in Osceola county. In 2005, Crosland became interested in purchasing a retail center in the city. However, during the developer's initial evaluation of the site Crosland was skeptical about the area's future residential growth and the overall strength of the market.

Crosland re-analyzed the market with the STI: PopStats' population estimates, which revealed two critical population-growth facts: (1) within a five-mile trade area, over 12,000 new residents had move in since 2000, and (2) the trade area was growing at 9% annually. What's more, within the past 12 months almost 3,000 new residents had moved into the trade area, and 16,000 additional residents were estimated by 2010.

"Based on the unique views of Poinciana's population growth provided by STI: PopStats, we decided to acquire the retail property," says Mike Wiggins, Crosland's Senior Vice-President of Retail Development. "And we immediately developed a significant amount of interest from national retailers. So much so that we now expect to open the retail center several months sooner than we initially expected."

Crosland Moves into N. Florida with Confidence

Jacksonville in northeast Florida is the most populous city in the state and the 13th most populated in the U.S. In 2005, Crosland was researching a potential new site north of the city using demographic data. "Another data provider was not able to capture the growth that was being reported by a detailed housing survey conducted locally," says Ken. "So we enlisted STI: PopStats data on a trial basis to help reconcile the trade area's population discrepancy."

STI: PopStats' quarterly estimates showed that population counts were in line with the housing survey. What's more, the product's quarterly estimates were consistent with the housing survey's projected absorption rates. "The population-growth validation provided by STI: PopStats data enabled Crosland to approve the site's purchase with confidence in its long-term viability," explains Ken.

STI: PopStats Data Captures Florida's Seasonal Shifts

Polk County is located in the center of the Florida peninsula in the heart of the state's lake country, about equal distance from the east and west coasts. This central location gives the county significant numbers of seasonal residents. While these seasonal fluctuations in populations are good for business, they can also play havoc with real estate development plans.

Within a five-mile radius of a proposed Crosland site, a population estimate derived from a local annual housing study cited 3,500 more residents during summer months (13% greater) than STI: PopStats. Further investigation revealed 12% of the houses in Polk County were vacant, according U.S. Census Bureau, with the vacancy of half of the homes related to seasonal and recreational use.

"Because STI: PopStats delivers quarterly data, its population estimates could effectively capture the seasonal variations in the market's population," explains Ken. "It revealed that in the third quarter of 2005 the area experienced a residential population drop, which was due primarily to summer vacationers moving out of the area.

"Overall, STI: PopStats helped give us a much better understanding of the market's seasonality, as well as the occupancy rates related to the new home construction," adds Ken. "As a result, we were able to make more informed — and more profitable — site development decisions."

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