CommercialCafe Report: What to Do With Vacant Land in Major CBDs?

Covering the central business districts of 25 U.S. metros, the study proposes solutions through the voices of citizens in said areas. How much land? Try 442 football fields worth of infill space.

By Ioana Ginsac

CommercialCafe’s latest urban development study combines a new inventory focused on vacant parcels located in central business districts with in-depth research on CBD construction activity, as well as a 25-city survey that gauges what developments are most desirable to the local urban population.

The report shows that recent development efforts have failed to address the needs and wants of the citizens living and working in the 25 researched cities. The lack of affordable housing options continues to drive working Americans out of the cities, and even out of a home; however, new residential construction is too little and too high-end to fill the demand gap. Urban sprawl has become a notable strain on residents, infrastructure, and local budgets, and is far behind the sustainable, compact, walkable communities that today’s Americans aspire to.

Key takeaways:

  • More than 580 acres of undeveloped land lies vacant in the country’s 25 largest urban cores, the equivalent of 442 football fields. Major S.-S.W. metros such as Dallas and Las Vegas are home to the most undeveloped land, while eastern urban sprawls such as Tampa are the densest.
  • Urban construction in recent years has failed to address the needs of citizens, according to the nationwide survey; 82 percent of respondents say their city needs more homeless shelters and affordable housing.
  • Sustainable urban transport is gaining ground—improved walkability, car pool lanes and infrastructure upgrades were our respondents’ top choices.

Visit CommercialCafe to view the full report on vacant land in major U.S. CBDs.

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