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Real Estate Development for the Creative Set

With all the money that was flooding into the housing market up until a year ago (and which is slowly trickling back), how come so much of it went...


With all the money that was flooding into the housing market up until a year ago (and which is slowly trickling back), how come so much of it went to ugly developments of homogeneous McMansions or giant, garish new condo high-rises. That is what Neil Takamoto wonders in an essay at Planetizen. The answer, it seems, is that building smaller, more creative developments is simply not at the scale developers and investment managers demand:
To those investment managers with billions to manage, why manage fifty projects if you can manage only ten instead? That simply means they'll prefer investing no less than $5 million at a time, which translates to $15 million projects. That precludes most every single human-scaled building you'd find, explaining why human-scaled neighborhoods weren't built since the 1920s, leaving only large-scale strip malls, subdivisions, office buildings…
Takamoto seems examples of this trend starting to shift in the face of demand for more interesting housing choices, meaning that there will be more investment in developments of small row houses instead of just giant apartment towers or swaths of suburban sprawl. Read the whole essay here.
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