AgentIndustry News

Prime real estate plagued by vacancy

Bureaucracy, renovation costs take toll on property owners

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

The building has been empty for years. Now the windows are boarded up, the facade is peeling and the neighbors are talking. Crime, drugs, death, madness? How can something this valuable, tangible and costly fall through the economic cracks? Shouldn't there be a law against leaving a perfectly livable or usable space uninhabited year after year? Whether it's a forgotten warehouse, a burned-out home or a vacant storefront, unused properties languish in every big city and podunk town in America. In some areas where property is relatively cheap and the economic activity extremely slow, it's a shame, but it's also quite understandable. After all, in these places, it may be very difficult to find tenants or buyers, while the cost of keeping the property empty may be negligible. But in the San Francisco Bay Area, where urban lots are among the most expensive in the nation, it's weird to see houses and commercial buildings just sit around like so many architectural cadavers. Unused proper...