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Philadelphia officials want to keep industrial land for industry

11/22/2014 | Real Estate Blog

Philadelphia officials want to reestablish the city as an industrial hub, even though that’s not something that many developers or building owners are very interested in. Most industries left Philadelphia many years ago, and in turn, most people assumed that Philadelphia’s industries were a thing of the past.

But the city commerce director and other Philadelphia officials said at a city council meeting Friday that a “culture change” is needed to embrace the city’s “industrial future.” The commerce director called the city’s transition back to industry a “real thing,” and said there is currently more than 17,000 acres of industrial-zoned land and buildings up for grabs.

The problem is that would-be developers and current land owners often see residential or commercial buildings as being much more profitable. For example, an acre of industrial land can typically yield a much higher profit if it is used for residential or commercial purposes.

One the reasons the city is so set on revitalizing the city’s industrial market is that industry provides more jobs and higher-paying jobs, which is good for the local economy, a member of the commerce department said.

As a result, city officials said that they have consistently be “pushing back” against developers who are seeking to have industrial properties in industrial corridors rezoned.

Any development project requires obtaining many approvals and permits from city, county and federal agencies after meeting the demands of a highly complex and confusing set rules and regulations.

But developers and landowners who are seeking to use industrial land for residential or commercial purposes in Philadelphia definitely have an even steeper uphill battle ahead of them, as you can see from the city’s strong desire to reindustrialize.

Developers and landowners in this position will need to consult with an experienced land use attorney in order to determine the best course of action to improve the chances of their plans being approved.

Source: CBS Philly, “Philadelphia City Council Tackles Thorny Issue of City’s Reindustrialization,” Mike Dunn, Nov. 21, 2014