CHICAGO –CSP picks 10 markets ripe for convenience-store growth based on demographic shifts, livability and interest from the industry. These cities rank among the most attractive to build c-stores, often in suburbs or outskirts of urban areas. CSP developed this list via interviews with retailers, developers and demographers.
1. Austin, Texas
Buda and Cedar Park, Texas, are suburbs of Austin, each about 15 miles in opposite directions from the city center. The cities have shown flashes of robust growth, offering the allure of a major metropolis without being embedded in an urban market. Buda recently registered a five-year population change of +69.5%, according to U.S. Census Bureau data from March 2020. Cedar Park ranks third on Forbes magazine’s list of top growth areas for families.
2. Columbus, Ohio
Similar to Austin, Columbus provides the attractions of a major city, while its suburbs offer a less-urban departure. Forbes’ report from late 2019 reveals that Columbus boasts four of the best suburbs in its metro area. New Albany is one of them. Over the past five years, the population of New Albany increased by more than 33%.
Seattle and its host of attractions gets the conversation started as an attractive community, but drilling down further, nearby Kirkland, Wash., is the hot enclave in King County these days. The suburb east of Seattle (population 93,010) ranked No. 1 in 2019 on Forbes’ list of cities where people are moving based on raising families.
4. Sacramento, Calif.
In a year that saw California’s population stagnate, the city of Sacramento proved to be a relative boomtown. In spring 2019, it was by far the fastest growing major city in the state, gaining more than 7,000 residents and adding more than 2,350 new housing units, according to the Department of Finance.
5. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
These adjoined cities are among the top destinations for millennials, according to the National Realtors Association list for 2020. Close to the Raleigh-Durham Research Tech Triangle is Holly Springs (population 33,341), which ranked No. 14 on Forbes’ 2019 list for places where people are moving based on raising families.
7. Tampa, Fla.
While the cities of Miami and Jacksonville, Fla., recently flashed aggressive growth in the Sunshine State, Tampa and Hillsborough counties more widely continue to experience robust population expansion. The area’s distinction is an array of nearby destinations—both in-state and interstate. This serves as leverage to what Travis Heiser, president of real estate development firm IMST, calls “satellite cities” where people live outside a metro area and can “draw a circle” to easily find accessible day trips.
Nashville and the surrounding suburbs in Davidson County continue to register impressive and sustained growth rates. A recent University of Tennessee study shows the population boom for the “midstate”—largely the Nashville area—is expected to continue unabated with more than half a million people moving to the area over the next 20 years.
For years, people relocated to Georgia counties near or within Atlanta, such as Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett. The state remains a draw for new residents, but a paradigm shift sees Forsyth County supplanting these others as the fastest growing in Georgia. By 2050, it’s projected to almost double in population, from 236,612 in the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures to an estimated 440,400, according to the most recent forecasts by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Bellaire, Texas, located about 10 miles from downtown Houston, has over the past five years witnessed a population growth of 8.8%, more than double the 3.6% U.S. growth index registered over the same period. The migration to Texas cities is emblematic of the allure of Southwest and Southeast destinations based on jobs, climate, new and affordable housing, lower state taxes and fewer government regulations (depending on the municipality).