8 percent decrease in retail vacancy between 2012 and 2013
3. Indianapolis, IN
The number of people living in downtown Indianapolis, IN, is on track to double by 2020. It's easy to see why young professionals and families are attracted to the area, which includes revitalized historic neighborhoods, new luxury condos and loft apartments overlooking the Central Canal. Living downtown puts people within walking distance to restaurants, entertainment districts, professional sports venues and parks.
By 2017, downtown Indianapolis expects more than 50 new projects representing an investment of $3 billion. Of these projects, 21 are residential and will add more than 3,200 new homes to the area. Residents here rave about the vibrancy of their community. Through public and private partnerships, 20 previously unattractive sites have been transformed into landscaped gateways and gardens since 1993. Residents gather throughout the year on downtown streets to listen to live music, eat and celebrate at annual events like the Sour Wild Funk Fest, Independent Music and Art Festival and the Strawberry Festival. The nation's largest half marathon, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, starts and ends downtown, with runners doing a lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
An 8-mile urban bike and pedestrian path called the Indianapolis Cultural Trail opened in 2013 and connects neighborhoods to downtown's four distinct cultural districts. Georgia Street is just one example of the transformations occurring downtown. Located in the Wholesale District, which is full of shops and restaurants, the street was recently redesigned to include a pedestrian boardwalk, catenary lighting system (suspended luminaires), and landscaping and drainage systems that reduce the load put on the city's sewers.
The Mass Ave District, an eight-block area filled with art galleries, performance venues and night spots, includes some of the oldest buildings in Indianapolis. Central to Mass Ave's character is one of the city's last diagonal streets, which creates visual interest.