Finding Vacant Land To Develop

In major cities, looking for vacant land is difficult. A builder can look for vacant land but also must look for buildings that are in a condition that looks like they are no longer productive. A neighborhood that is in decline might be rejuvenated by tearing down a building and replacing it with a new office building, high-rise shopping center or apartments. Starting with one property might transform several blocks of a blighted area over a period of months or years. If an opportunity like this presents itself, it can be time to get options to purchase adjoining properties. An owner of an old building may be just waiting for an offer of some kind.
Cities also have a parking problem. An existing parking area might be purchased and replaced by a high-rise parking structure. The builder might joint venture this kind of project with the existing owner. After this kind of building is completed, converting the property to parking space condos can be considered. Condo parking spaces are units that have increased in value more than many other types of condominiums.
Maybe it is not necessary to find land to build on. You might build in the air above existing low-rise buildings. There are many buildings built above existing buildings. A historic building that is only one story has all of that air space above it. The space can be purchased or leased for use as a high-rise structure.
Throughout the country, traveling on the Interstate Highways, we often see a building such as a restaurant built in the air spanning the highway. An anchor on both sides of the highway works just like a bridge and gives a platform of one to five acres on which to build a restaurant, shops and parking. In the cities there are many highways, railroad right-of-ways that have large amounts of open space above that might be utilized for construction.
Look around the city. You might find areas that can be build on that no one has recognized (like over or under a bridge).
With vacant land virtually non-existent, as it is in a city like New York and in other crowded metropolitan areas, a developer might look anywhere and everywhere for space that might be used. Though no one is thinking about buying the Brooklyn Bridge, they are thinking of using the space under the bridge approaches.
Under the Brooklyn Bridge were 29 brick and granite arches, which have a total of 185,000 square feet of space. Developers are putting that space to use for retail, commercial, and even residential purposes. Some of the vaults are 40-feet high and apartments are possible in that size of space.
There is another 130,000 square feet of space in the vaults under the Queensboro Bridge and in a plaza on the New York City end of the bridge. At first, developers considered using that space for cultural activities, including a complex of movie theatres. Later, the idea of a shopping center emerged with 46,000 square feet to be used for food store, boutiques, and restaurants.
Approval Steps
These projects in New York City are delayed by lawsuits, financing problems, and approval procedures that are required by the City. Neighborhood groups have raised the issues of traffic congestion, air pollution, noise abatement, etc. The city insists that repairs first be completed to the masonry in the vaults; however, there are endless disputes over which state and city agencies are responsible for making the repairs and who has the final say regarding the finished repair work. The developers have signed a 50-year lease with the city and are optimistic, but resigned to the fact that the process is going to take much more time than originally was expected.
In Your Area
We may think that all of the vacant land near to the centers of population all over the country has already been developed. When you hear about these areas beneath the old bridges in New York City, it can cause a person to take a second look around near home base. Are there spaces that we pass every day that could be utilized as a commercial property?