Shuttered Schools Still A Part Of Kansas City’s Landscape

westport high school

Reprinted from www.kcur.org

It was a tearful, dramatic day five years ago, when the school board of Kansas City Public Schools decided to close 21 buildings in order to adjust to a shrinking student population. That was in addition to nine previously closed schools, leaving the district with 30 surplus buildings.

Kansas City is not the only district doing this around the country … Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago all closed large numbers of school buildings in recent years. But in the wake of the school closures, Kansas City developed what was considered a pioneering program, asking communities to be part of the process of determining what would happen to the empty buildings.

Read the full article at http://kcur.org/post/shuttered-schools-still-part-kansas-citys-landscape

An Audacious Plan for Baltimore’s Vacant Industrial Spaces

Reprinted from www.citylab.com

New “makers spaces” in a struggling neighborhood could bolster the local economy with small-scale manufacturing opportunities.

lead_large

 

It was some tough timing for urban planner Andy Cook as he lined up a tour of vacant industrial properties in Southwest Baltimore late last month, trying to drum up interest among businesses and real estate developers.

The nation had been glued to news of the riots that followed the the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. People were beginning to understand the despair present in Baltimore neighborhoods that residents themselves declared dead.

The Southwest Baltimore Industrial Opportunity Tour wound through similar landscapes of abandonment, in Mill Hill, Shipley Hill, and as far north as Rosemont, where big companies—and the smaller businesses of butchers, bakeries, and brewers—had long since left. It was audacious to suggest that a collection of 35 dilapidated buildings could somehow begin to fix what had been broken for so long.

Read the full article at http://www.citylab.com/work/2015/06/can-makers-spaces-revitalize-baltimore/396185/

Importance of a Commercial Property Inspection

Reprinted from www.southlandcommercial.com

car-engine-231213_1280-500x375

One of the most important things to have, when representing a buyer in the purchase of real estate, is a commercial property inspection. This should be done by a qualified property inspector. Having this type of inspection ensures that the buyer has “looked under the hood” and knows exactly what they are getting. What can appear to be a good purchase can sometimes quickly turn into a money pit with multiple unseen issues that the buyer would be inheriting.

A list of the items to be checked during a commercial property inspection:

  • Structural Issues
  • Mold (WDO Inspection)
  • HVAC
  • Roof
  • Environmental Contamination
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Hazardous Materials (lead paint, asbestos)
  • Proper Insulation
  • Fire/Life Safety Issues
  • ADA compliance issues
  • Foundation issues

Read the full article at southlandcommercial.com

Developer J. Shorey plans to turn a vacant foundry into a fish farm, arts complex

Reprinted from www.cleveland.com

-efdc8b45757570da

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Central and Fairfax neighborhoods lost an estimated 100 jobs in 2012 when T&B Foundry closed a storied metal casting plant in a foreclosure process that left the eight-acre property vacant, shuttered and saddled with nearly $2 million in liens.

Now Cleveland Heights entrepreneur J. Duncan Shorey has a proposal to transform the plant at 2469 East 71st St. at Platt Avenue with an unusual mix of overlapping uses including a fish farm, an orchard, a studio center for artists, a farmers market, a cooking school and a computer server farm.

To read the entire article, click here.

Guilderland approves vacant property crackdown

Reprinted from www.timesunion.com

Guilderland

The town cracked down on vacant properties Tuesday night by unanimously adopting an ordinance that requires otimesunionwners of vacant structures to register them, keep them neat and put up a $5,000 bond that the town can tap into if the property needs to be cleaned up.

“These properties don’t generally become public health issues, but they become unsightly and rundown,” said Town Supervisor Ken Runion.

To read the entire article, click here

Detroit program pairs new businesses with vacant spaces

Reprinted from Detroit Free Press

Detroit free press 2A new, five-year program to pair up entrepreneurs and property owners looking to repopulate Detroit with small businesses kicked off today with pledges of $2 million a year in grants to encourage redevelopment of vacant commercial space across the city.

The Motor City Match program will award $500,000 in grants quarterly to building owners and small-business startups, a key part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s 2013 campaign pledge to foster growth and jobs in neighborhood storefronts long vacant amid years of business flight from Detroit.

To read the entire article, click here

Detroit to businesses: Clean up your blight

Reprinted from Detroit Free Press

Detroit free pressDetroit’s fight to reduce blight has begun to focus more on vacant, dilapidated business properties marring the city’s landscape, with city lawyers quietly taking dozens of property owners to court in recent months to get them to either fix up or demolish their buildings.

A team of six lawyers in Detroit’s Law Department has brought more than 50 lawsuits in Wayne County Circuit Court against commercial property owners in the last nine months, many targeting blighted buildings that help tarnish neighborhoods.

Targeted so far have been the owners of properties ranging from a large, dilapidated apartment complex on the city’s west side, to a downtown high-rise and even a two-family duplex near Indian Village, one of the Detroit’s more stable neighborhoods.

To read the entire article, click here

Investors Don’t Fear Vacancies

Reprinted from www.globest.com

CHICAGO—As bid-up pricing results in lower returns, especially in prime office markets, investors are turning to a new strategy, according to Transwestern’s Gary Nussbaum. That is, they’re becoming more opportunistic, buying buildings with substantial or total vacancies.

chi_311It’s not only the lower returns on stabilized assets that have motivated investors to accept more risk—and, often, pay higher prices on vacant, nearly vacant or soon to be vacant office properties, writes Nussbaum, Chicago-based managing director, investment services. They’re also finding more debt sources willing to lend on opportunistic deals.

“In order to increase their returns, some lenders have been willing to finance the acquisition of vacant buildings, offering interest-only, debt fund financing at 65% loan-to-value” as well as providing 100% of the cap-ex funding, Nussbaum writes in a special report. Interest rates, meanwhile, have been as aggressive as sub-6%. “Terms are improving because more debt sources are loaning on these non-core assets.”

To read the entire article, click here

 

A New Life for Dead Malls

Reprinted from www.citylab.com

lead_large

In case you haven’t heard, suburban malls are on the way out (sorry Paul Blart). Some have become abandoned wastelands popular for ruin porn. Others have been torn down and turned into industrial sites.

According to Ellen Dunham-Jones, an architect and professor at Georgia Tech, there are about 1,200 enclosed malls in the United States, and about one-third of them are dead or dying. That’s because developers rapidly overbuilt malls in the 20th century, she said: The U.S. has twice as much square footage in shopping centers per capita than the rest of the world, and six times as much as countries in Europe.

“The malls died for a reason,” she told me. “We were way over retailed.”

To read the entire article click here

5 Ways to Redevelop a Vacant Armory

Reprinted from www.opportunityspace.org

053riprovidence23

 

beautiful Cranston Street Armory in Providence, RI.

Armories in the United States were built in the 19th and 20th centuries by local and state militias to store weapons and to train volunteer soldiers. Armories typically have a large interior space that was used for drills and rooms used for weapons storage and administrative offices. With the reorganization of many local and state militia groups under the federal National Guard, today armories in their original form are typically vacant or underutilized.

To read the entire article, click here