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Zoning may be restraining development of Philadelphia waterfront

8/29/2013 | Real Estate Blog

Land developers may be able to put together very attractive plans to help bring certain parts of a city to life. However, along the way, a number of land use issues can obstruct investment and construction if proper preparations aren’t made.

The waterfront along the Delaware River has been the focus of many Philadelphia developers for several years. In fact, development efforts became unified with the creation of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. However, it seems as though the development isn’t accelerating at the pace it could be. Observers note that zoning variances could be preventing construction from taking place.

A zoning variance allows a developer to get around certain aspects of the code established for the land. Although this may be a helpful tool for developers, it may not be promoting movement in this case. Local observers suggest that the variances allowed for the waterfront property may actually be causing prices to climb, which could prohibit construction from ever occurring.

Knowing this, it may be important to look at how modifications to existing zoning could encourage the construction to begin. Developing the land will likely open the doors for more retail business opportunities and bolster the local market for construction jobs.

Working on a major development project, such as the Delaware waterfront, certainly includes a number of challenges. Potential hitches, however, shouldn’t necessarily cause potential investors or developers to shy away from an opportunity to help build the local community. Thoughtful strategies can help individuals work through real estate issues, such as zoning, and prevent future hurdles in order to realize a goal.

Source: Curbed, “Waterfront Developers Obstruct Waterfront Development,” Molly Webb, Aug. 12, 2013