Monday, April 20, 2009


With all the foreclosure and false starts on major housing development projects a new trend is developing: un-development. Land that had been acquired for future development is now being target as land that can be returned to it original use or some type of green space. Here is an excerpt from the LA Times article.

Reporting from Tampa, Fla. -- The Georgetown apartment complex was one of this city's most coveted properties back in 2005. Now Greg Chelius and Alex Size were touring it as if examining an exotic ruin.

These two men have big plans for the Georgetown property, 160 acres on the southwest side of the Tampa peninsula. But they are not planning to build. Chelius is state director for the Trust for Public Land. Size is from the nonprofit's St. Petersburg office. Because of the steep decline in property values here, they believe they have a chance to help local government purchase and preserve this stretch of waterfront. A few months ago, it was slated to be covered with luxury condominiums, "mansion" town houses and single-family homes.

Will this new trend preserve much needed land? Instead of slating every inch of real estate for development (smart growth), doesn't this new growth, a return to natural state, make more sense for everyone?

I know we are in discussion in St. Paul exactly about this idea. A 3 acre site that was going to be developed into housing might now instead be turned into a community green space.

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