Housing Innovation: The Cost of Land Acquisition

Housing Innovation: The Cost of Land Acquisition

Our third post in a series of blog posts around our deep dive, ‘How to Build More Affordably” and the lessons we learnt. Find the first post and our overview video here.

Written by: Shafraaz Kaba, Principal, ASK For a Better World 

In our exploration of the major costs in affordable housing, the cost of land acquisition stood out as a line item to focus on. Our Innovations team considered several opportunities for reducing the monetary outlay for obtaining land including partnering with school boards, churches, and religious organizations who all may have surplus lands. Municipalities also tend to have surplus land or properties for sale. All of these organizations would likely work with a housing not-for-profit or charitable organization to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. In this short video, Anne Stevenson from Right at Home Housing Society explains a couple of opportunities she has found working with church groups:

Also, when looking for land and development opportunities, our Innovations team that was focused on Retrofits discovered that there are many factors that should be considered before land or a building is acquired. Sometimes there will be hidden pitfalls in property or a building such as hazardous materials (asbestos, lead, PCBs, hydrocarbons, etc) or even the lack of utilities, access or mobility. Land may not have fire hydrants nearby or electrical transformers or power lines that could significantly increase development costs to bring the service to the site. 

Here is a portal to obtain an excellent guide and checklist by the Rural Development Network that helps provide some way of vetting sites and buildings for expensive issues:

Here is a portal to obtain an excellent guide and checklist by the Rural Development Network that helps provide some way of vetting sites and buildings for expensive issues:

https://www.ruraldevelopment.ca/publications/guide-to-developing-affordable-housing

Other links and resources that reflect on land and property issues:

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/city-of-edmonton-launches-1-5-million-grant-program-to-convert-problem-properties-into-affordable-housing

Hotels converting to housing in Calgary: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/affordable-housing-1.5875921

https://therealdeal.com/2020/07/04/retail-to-residential-conversions-are-in-cards-at-americas-doomed-malls/

https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2020/10/26/is-turning-office-and-retail-to-residential-housing-the-future-of-the-high-street

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-30/a-case-for-turning-empty-malls-into-housing

Leave a Reply