Found land to develop, now what - Posted by Carlos R.

Posted by Carlos R. on August 28, 2003 at 12:14:25:


Thank you for your response. I will begin looking into the things that you mentioned this evening. I’d do it sooner but for now I have a boss and he wouldn’t be happy if I just up and left!

Thanks again! You’ll be hearing from me soon.


Found land to develop, now what - Posted by Carlos R.

Posted by Carlos R. on August 28, 2003 at 10:54:25:


About 3 miles from my home there is a nice little peace of land for sale. It is zoned commercial and has several other small businesses as neighbors. It’s located on a semi high traffic road which has easy and very nearby access to a major highway. This area (south east PA, suburb of Philadelphia)is growing at a relatively quick pace and looks like it will continue to do so.

At this point, I really don’t know anything about the property beyond what I’ve already said other than it has a sign that says FOR LEASE OR SALE, and it is 140’X 400’ (140’ road frontage). Oh, and it was a small used car sales lot before. I don’t even know what the asking price is. I pass by this property on a daily basis and never until last night have I actually thought about possibilities for it (my mindset has been set on residential properties). I know that the land is small, to small to build houses or apartments, but what I imagined was small office buildings.

There is definitely enough room for AT LEAST 30,000 sq. ft. of office space while still leaving plenty of space for parking, some nice landscaping and micelaneous stuff like dumpsters LOL! And that’s only going to two stories.

What I want now is advice. I have no idea where to begin. Well, I guess I should find out how much the owner wants for it, but beyond that I really don’t know. What kind of market research should I do? I’m guessing that I should learn how much commercial real estate leases for per Sq.Ft. in my area. I also would assume that when I go to prospective lenders, I should be able to give them some sort of solid idea of future renters…right? Laws and restrictions as to building requirements. What else!?! I’m sure that there is so much more. I’m very excited about this (and/or other deals if this one is actually not good). Please share some of your knowledge with me, give me some first steps to do! Thank you!!

Carlos Ruano

Re: Found land to develop, now what - Posted by Cas

Posted by Cas on August 28, 2003 at 19:00:50:


Get this book and read it. It will answer a lot of the questions you may have:

Be a Successful land Developer
by R. Dodge Woodson

Its avilable at


Re: Found land to develop, now what - Posted by ray@lcorn

Posted by ray@lcorn on August 28, 2003 at 11:13:04:


First step is to talk to the planning department. You need to know the current zoning, the permitted uses, and the development standards for the proposed use.

For example, typical parking requirements for office buildings are 1 space per 400 sf of building space. In addition the ordinance may require a certain percentage of the lot to be finished as green space. These requirements will dictate how big the building footprint can be. There also may be setback requirements and/or maximum coverage ratios that further limit the size of the building. You also need to verify the availibility of utilities to the building, and know what fees are involved (tap fee, availibility fee, meter fee, etc.).

From there you can figure out ballpark construction and development costs.

Once you know what can be done with the property and the cost to do it, then you’re ready to start asking the other questions.