Minneapolis, Minnesota Adobe Stock / gmstockstudio

As urban revitalization projects convert riverfront industrial sites into new communities, well-heeled buyers are paying a premium to live on the water.

This is especially true for urban areas in Midwestern and central states, including Minneapolis, Omaha, Neb., and Tulsa, Okla. According to Zillow, Minneapolis home buyers have paid a premium of 32% for waterfront homes since 1996. These same homes experienced a smaller drop in value during the recession compared to non-waterfront homes.

“Especially for the central U.S., without the ocean, riverfront areas have been a hot development area,” says Twin Cities developer George Sherman. “Units with a view of Stone Arch Bridge and the waterfall have some of the highest prices in all of Minneapolis.”

In some cities, postindustrial wastelands have been transformed into dynamic urban districts with juice bars, bike shops and craft breweries. The return to the river is fueled by two generations with spending power: downsizing baby boomers and young professionals who crave community, walkability and a touch of nature.

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