Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Hotels Hotels

Ten years ago, I bet Papa John that world wide down-towns were going to make a comeback. At the time, it was hard to believe. Towns such as my own home town of Winston-Salem had all been "malled". Citizens had all moved to the suburbs and down-town was dark after about 6 PM each week day and dead on the week ends.

Down-towns, large and small, are making the turn. The old tobacco factories in Winston are being remodeled into modern office and research facilities. Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University are cooperating to build a 70 Billion Dollar research park.

As the linked article mentions, hotel operators are buying into down town areas. Harry Dent has written about the new "urbanites". Seniors can live in many down-town areas and not need to drive. They can enjoy theater, restaurants and community services within walking distance or on bus and other public transportation routes.

The trend is just getting started. The down trend in Winston-Salem lasted the better part of 25 years. Investors should consider down-town real estate. Millions of baby boomers may wish to retire to more urban settings in the years to come.