ASHLAND MARKET ANALYSIS/STRATEGIC PLANNING
The Town of Ashland is at a crossroads. Until recently, the Town has existed chiefly as a freestanding community with a village/urban character surrounded by largely rural landscape. The key exception has been its position on major north-south transportation networks—first the railroad, then U. S. Route 1, and finally Interstate 95.
As each successive transportation route has matured, the Town has responded with commercial and employment development benefiting from the access provided by that transportation system. First was the traditional town center at the rail station with “Main Street” retail/commercial business, local government, and a college. Second followed with highway-oriented retail, commercial, and industrial activity along much of the length of Route 1 through the Town. Finally, the Town adapted to the superior transportation access to I-95 with concentrations of hotels and restaurants, larger concentrations of industrial, office/flex development, and lately large format retailing.
This complex history of commercial and business development has also resulted in a sequence of aging and struggling commercial areas as newer retail and commercial concentrations have attracted customers from older locations. The Town rightfully boasts a wealth of historic homes, but it also has a disproportionate share of the county’s rental properties and mobile home communities.
In 2008, the Town of Ashland retained Urban Partners to help position itself to capture a greater portion of the future growth anticipated in the region. In addition to providing market analyses for retail, commercial, and hotel sectors, Urban Partners identified potential housing development opportunities with likely pricing and pace of absorption.