- January 1, 2014: Vol. 26, Number 1

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The CBD rides again: 20 years ago this magazine eulogized the moribund central business district, but it has since come back to life

by Steve Bergsman


“It was twenty years ago today…

The brief line that begins The Beatles’ titular song from the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a good place to start a story on central business district revival because it was approximately 20 years ago that The Institutional Real Estate Letter published a front-page story titled, “The Death of CBD: Can Office Properties Survive?”

But it is a good line for another reason. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is a baby boomer classic. And we all know what the baby boomers did. They moved to the suburbs.

Skip forward a lifetime and the people in the workforce today are the children of baby boomers, known as “millennials,” and we all know what they are doing: reversing direction, eschewing suburbs and moving back into CBDs.

“Now, the question I get the most is, ‘are the suburbs dead?’” notes Arthur Jones, a senior managing economist at

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