Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Use the Land to Pay the Tab?

The city of Charlotte is contemplating buying a dead mall. The same dead mall is at the end of the proposed streetcar route. It would be interesting if they would decide to view it as an opportunity to be innovative in their financing. If they go Portland style, they could put together a development agreement and sell to a developer who might be able to do something interesting and urbanist with the property, provided there is a market for such a thing. It's also quite possible that this development could pay for part of the streetcar, some affordable housing and other amenities.

Does anyone know why Charlotte would want to buy this property? It's not clear that there is a true goal in mind, which could hinder any thinking, innovative or otherwise.


Anonymous said...

With a strong CBD (lowest vacancy rate) and close-in, affluent "streetcar suburbs" (Myers Park, Dilworth, Elizabeth, Midwood), Charlotte is somewhat an inverted city already, albeit still with a favored quarter/corridor to the south-southeast. As such, the market is already there in the CBD and first and maybe second tier of neighborhoods wrapping it. But at the end of the proposed line sits Eastland Mall, the farthest of all stops from the CBD and surrounded by Charlotte's ring of transitioning mid- to late-20th century auto-oriented subdivisions. This ring is increasingly home to upwardly mobile immigrants and minorities, but it's not where the New Urbanist Yuppies are moving.

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Alon Levy said...

Or, Charlotte could emulate Hong Kong and Tokyo and develop the property itself, instead of sell it to a politically connected developer.