There’s a new breed of consumer that isn’t nearly as interested in acquiring goods as previous generations. Instead, they’d rather visit new places, make lasting memories, and cross things off their bucket list, and they don’t spend a fair amount of money to do so.

This trend has lead to what marketers call an “experience economy”. It’s a boom of services, events, and amusements that attract an ample and diverse range of buyers, and it’s having an impact on many cities and industries, including construction.

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Multimillion Dollar Upgrade For Long Beach, CA
Mixed-use and amusement projects are springing up in more places across the United States.  In Long Beach, California, plans for the $250 million Queen Mary Island are underway.

Developer Urban Commons is in the process of creating a 65 acre project that includes an expansive boardwalk, hotel, marina, amphitheater, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail space, and dining and entertainment venues.

As if that wasn’t enough to draw tourists, a 150,000-square-foot Urban Adventure space is planned for the center of the development. Indoor surfing, an ice climbing wall, zip-lining, a trampoline park, and more are all to be housed within.

Staten Island’s New York Wheel
On the other side of the country, Staten Island is soon to be home to a $1.6 billion waterfront development, that includes a 350,000 square-foot retail outlet and, most notably for the borough, the New York Wheel.

The 60 story observation wheel will be the largest in the world and is set to open next year. This attraction alone cost $590 million and is similar to the iconic London Eye. It is expected to draw three million yearly visitors.

Retail And Dining As A Backdrop
We may also be seeing a new mall and resort boom, however these developments are not focused on typical retail, hospitality, and restaurant spaces alone.

The main draw of creations from developers like Vortex Aquatic Structures International are family focused waterparks that make consumer venues more competitive in the age of online shopping. Shopping malls and retail centers are becoming a backdrop to expansive theme parks and casinos in more places across the country.

These include American Dream mega-malls and amusement centers that are in development in Miami and East Rutherford NJ. Both due to open in the next few years.


With the Experience Economy driving these types of projects and investments, could it mean new prosperity for the construction industry? What are your thoughts on this trend?

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