Industry Trends Not Going Away Anytime Soon

This blog was a collaborative effort between Bonnie Dunkel, Leslee Oliver and Kayla Baldino.

So often we get caught up in our daily tasks – what’s in front of us, what’s our next deadline – that we begin to lose sight of what’s happening big picture within our industry. With projects moving at a rapid pace and new construction taking place all around us, we polled our design teams and in-house experts to hear their take on which trends are not going away anytime soon.

First, there are breweries. Did you know there were over 25 million barrels of craft beer produced in the United States in 2018? And, over 1,000 new craft breweries opened across the nation last year proving that the craft beer industry is not planning on slowing down anytime soon.

Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery located in Hampton, Virginia. Timmons Group provided professional services beginning with the definition of Site Constraints and Final Geometrics. The firm also provided surveying of the site and Construction Documents.

We’re also noticing design trends such as massive outdoor spaces, historic renovation, and sustainable design in recent brewery projects that boost a brewery's atmosphere to be more than just beer. We’re seeing breweries put an emphasis on turning into community gathering spaces for relaxation and socialization.

2018 Statistics on Small & Independent U.S. Craft Breweries. Infographic created and provided by Brewers Association.

Affordable Housing
Second on our list is affordable housing. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as housing for which the occupant(s) is/are paying no more than 30 percent of his or her income for gross housing costs including utilities.

As growth and new construction continues to occur in cities and towns across the country whether large or small, the need for affordable housing is greater than ever. The private and public sector are putting an emphasis on not just affordable housing, but quality affordable housing that provides a decent, safe place for individuals and families to live. Our teams recently finished an affordable housing project in the City of Richmond, Virginia with Better Housing Coalition, an organization that exists to transform communities through high-quality affordable housing. Their website states that an additional 22,000 affordable housing units will be needed by 2030, and that’s in the City of Richmond alone.

The Goodwyn at Union Hill Apartments, a new affordable housing complex located in Richmond, Virginia.

This need will continue to increase because stable housing is proven to enhance the quality of life for our most vulnerable community members. Without it, lack of affordable housing can contribute to an increase in homelessness, substance abuse, impoverishment, school dropout rates, job loss, and hunger.

Retail as a Destination
There’s been a lot of buzz around retail lately with the closing of major stores nationwide and the increase in e-commerce. Do we think retail is going away? Absolutely not. We are instead seeing retail centers and shopping malls adapt to the changing times as they begin to offer amenities that just sound plain fun.

Shopping malls are beginning to become a destination. Where we once saw enclosed shopping malls with large department stores as anchor tenants, we’re now seeing shopping centers shift to open-air destinations that offer dining, outdoor spaces and plazas, movie theaters, entertainment, in addition to retail stores. This approach is not only encouraging visitors to stay longer, but also reaches a much larger audience because of the diversity of amenities offered.

Social and Sports Entertainment
Speaking of entertainment, thanks to a recent boom in the sports and social entertainment industries, gone are the days when food, drink, and fun had to be enjoyed at three different locations. What we’re seeing are social venues and sports entertainment venues as trends in the one-stop-shop entertainment.

A shot from Timmons Group’s recent Commercial Coffee event at Tang & Biscuit.

Looking for a fun night out? Lucky for you, social venues that combine food, drink, and fun have been all the rage recently. Barcades like Raleigh, North Carolina’s Boxcar Bar + Arcade have been popular additions to the local social scene. In 2018, Richmond also welcomed River City Roll, a boutique bowling alley, and Tang & Biscuit, a shuffleboard social venue.

Our Infrastructure Division recently held their group outing at River City Roll.

If you’re looking for a more active activity for your weekend fun, look no further than sports entertainment venues like iFLY and TopGolf. iFLY is an indoor skydiving facility that gives visitors the full skydiving experience in a safe and reliable environment, and Topgolf’s signature game is played by hitting balls into any target on the field.

All of this to say: these lasting trends represent a shift in emphasis on experience and efficiency. Breweries are creating unique spaces reusing existing infrastructure. Affordable housing greatly improves communities by providing stable living situations. Retail destinations are no longer just a collection of stores, but places where people can interact and spend more time. Drinks and dancing have been supplemented by installing an arcade in the venue. Even with the “next-best-thing” always looming on the horizon, our prediction is that these industry trends are here to stay.