In early 2024, Jada Stratman, 25, was searching for retail space for her candle business, Brite Candle Co. That’s when she found Culdesac.

“[It’s] the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the U.S.,” Ryan Johnson, CEO of Culdesac tells CNBC Make It.

Cars are not allowed on the Culdesac’s streets, and residents can’t park their own vehicles on site. Residents are offered discounts on transportation services like Waymo, a self-driving car.

“Our communities prioritize biking, walking, and transit over cars and parking,” the website states.

The community, located in Tempe, Arizona, has 180 residents with plans to grow to over 1,000. Apartments there range from studios to three-bedroom units, and prices start at around $1,400 a month.

“Since moving to this walkable community, I feel like I’ve definitely gotten a lot more out of my comfort zone,” Stratman tells CNBC Make It. “They’re not against cars; they’re just against car dependency.”

Culdesac is “the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the U.S.,” Ryan Johnson, CEO of Culdesac tells CNBC Make It.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC Make It

Stratman moved into one of Culdesac’s live-work spaces in February. The Brite Candle Co. shop is housed up front and Stratman’s bedroom and other living spaces are in the back. The unit features a walk-in closet and a washer and dryer.

“I’m able to actually have a retail front-facing shop to the public and also make money out of my apartment,” she says.

“At first, it was a bit uncomfortable just having so many people in my living space, but over time, I’ve gotten really used to it. I’m actually really excited for people to come and make candles.”

Stratman pays $1,472 in monthly rent and an additional $140 for utilities and Internet. Stratman’s upfront costs included a $1,000 security deposit.

Stratman uses the front room of her apartment in Culdesac as a retail space for her candle business.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC Make It

Culdesac offers Stratman and other residents access to a pool, a fully equipped gym, rental cars, and light rails. Each resident is also given a free e-bike. The community has several shops and a supermarket on the grounds.

Though car-free, Culdesac still has parking spaces for visitors and the residents who need them.

Stratman does own a car and keeps it off property, as required, but says she has “actually become less dependent on my vehicle, although I use it for business purposes.”

Stratman’s unit features a walk-in closet and a washer and dryer.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC Make It

Stratman doesn’t see herself leaving the neighborhood any time soon. “I’ve always grown up so introverted and just to myself,” she says. “So coming here and meeting all the friendly people that I have met and the connections that I’ve made is why I chose Culdesac.”

“Having a live-work space has actually saved me a lot of money,” she says.

Since moving in, Stratman has seen her business grow and wants to eventually move into a larger retail space there.

“Having [my work and home] integrated into one has been so helpful, especially for a small business owner who’s not making thousands of dollars.”

Stratman’s live-work space also has a patio that she uses to relax and store the electric bike she got when she moved in.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC Make It

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