R E A L E S T A T E - R E D E V E L O P M E N T & B R O W N F I E L D S
While urban expansion at the edges of Canadian towns and cities is the most visible form of real estate development activity in most communities, increasingly, redevelopment, infill and renewal activities on lands already in urban use are meeting the need for new built space. In large cities, redevelopment activity challenges urban expansion activity as the dominant form of development.
The primary driver in the redevelopment sector is location, and the resultant opportunity to provide those seeking new housing, commercial space or business facilities a comparative advantage over sites at the periphery of our communities.
Increasingly, public policy is emphasizing redevelopment within urban boundaries as a preferred alternative to the conversion of lands at the urban fringe. New approaches in development policy and zoning regulations are being established, enabling those involved in redevelopment a higher degree of flexibility in the design of projects, and a sounder financial rationale for proceeding. This is particularly evident in the innovations being brought forward with respect to the development of “brownfield” sites. And whereas the costs associated with the development in urban expansion areas is primarily borne by the private sector, redevelopment projects are often conducted in “partnership” with public bodies as a method of addressing the need for infrastructure and community upgrading to accommodate the redevelopment.
Changing Client Needs
Dillon serves many of the needs of the redevelopment sector of the real estate industry. Services typically provided include opportunity identification, site planning, technical requirements associated with infrastructure and traffic/transit issues, approvals, site development engineering, building design and construction management. Particular areas of expertise include brownfield redevelopment, where a full portfolio of environmental services is offered, sustainable project and facility design, advanced methods of infrastructure design and environmental restoration/impact mitigation techniques. We often associate with leading architects and urban designers.
As with new development on the fringes of our towns and cities, getting regulatory approval to proceed is the key to success. But our recent experience indicates that technical aspects of the project, and its impact on local infrastructure facilities, may be larger factors in obtaining those approvals than in suburban locations. And there can be a high degree of variation in the costs associated with two very similar redevelopments, due to environmental factors, adjacent infrastructure or the need for additional community facilities. Assessing these variables early on in the project development cycle, sometimes prior to property acquisition, is often a wise course of action. Doing that well requires experience and expertise across the breadth of issues that might be faced. The Dillon advantage is in having that breadth and depth “under one roof.”