Industry News

Urban redevelopment hits real estate snag

Land assembly obstacles push developers to the suburbs

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The difficulty of land assembly and acquisition in close-in urban neighborhoods remains a chief impediment to urban redevelopment, particularly when the land use is being changed to accommodate housing or a mix of uses, according to a group of industry experts recently assembled by the Urban Land Institute. The challenges associated with land assembly, which involves purchasing two adjacent properties held by different owners, and various ways the public sector can support urban revitalization through land assembly assistance, were discussed during a forum drawing a variety of private and public representatives with expertise in development, urban planning, architecture and urban design. Forum participants pointed out that while there is a pressing need for more infill development to help counter suburban sprawl, land assembly obstacles are formidable: high land costs, limited supply, difficult site assembly requirements, long chains of title, and the desire by some property owner...