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Business Observer Friday, Mar. 9, 2018 2 years ago

Sarasota-Bradenton a millennial mecca?

Not fake news! City ranks in the Top 10 in Brookings study.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

Just two decades ago, the Sarasota-Bradenton region was known almost strictly as a wealthy retiree haven, an arts-laced small city with terrific beaches.

What the “city of urban amenities with small town living and feeling” -- a phrase a former mayor popularized — and a population of roughly 53,000 was not known for was its young people.

Business leaders consistently complained, in fact, that high school and college grads had to go elsewhere to find jobs.

Until now, apparently.

A new study by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program finds that Sarasota — yes, Sarasota — is among the Top 10 places millennials want to live. In the whole country.

The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton region came in ninth in the Top 10. Cape Coral and Orlando also made the cut in Florida, based on migration patterns and other factors.

Brookings says millennials -- born between 1981 and 1997, according to the think tank's definition — are already moving to Sarasota. Between 2010 and 2015, it contends, the millennial population grew 11.1%, with further increases in the offing.

Other cities on the Brookings list were a bit more predictable: Seattle, Houston, Denver, Austin, Honolulu and — coming in at No. 1 — Colorado Springs, Colo.

(This story was updated to reflect the full region, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, in the Brookings report.)

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