Who knew of Bentonville, Arkansas - a town of about 56,000 people - outside of those who knew the story of Walmart which is headquartered in this area? Then in 2011, Alice Walton, an heir to the Walton Family billions, opened up the now world-famous Moshe Safdie-designed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Since opening over 5 million people have visited this museum.
In the late 1950's the first elements of Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan were opened to revitalize a rather down-trodden area, also fueled by the efforts of billionaire John D. Rockefeller (yes, rich people do contribute lots to society, sometimes less obviously or directly!)....today it attracts about 5 million visitors per year. And the area around this cultural institution is thriving with some of the most valuable real estate - and homes - in the world. Cultural elements drive commerce....and real estate. They anchor neighborhoods. Aside from the extraordinary human value of culture, arts and cultural economic activity accounted for roughly 4.4% of U.S. GDP, or $1.02 trillion, in 2021, and employs almost 5 million people.
Recently, the new $500 million Perelman Performing Arts Center opened just south of Tribeca in the World Trade Center area. Its official opening is tomorrow. To its East is the Financial District and the Southstreet Seaport and to the West is Battery Park City. While this entire area has gone through a radical transformation since 9/11, delivering a 15-minute neighborhood unlike any others with thousands of new apartments, offices, and dozens of new restaurants, hotels, clubs, etc, this cultural institution is the icing on the cake and almost certain to deliver an element that has fueled other neighborhoods and cities around the globe.
Culture is an essential ingredient to a quality lifestyle and existence. But it's also one of the ultimate feeders of real estate. It's a form of enjoyment and education of limitless value. Look out for culture......its real estate gold!