Infill Development in Commercial Real Estate

Infill Development Allows Investors and Developers to Recapture Unused and Underused Space

In commercial real estate, infill is defined as the development of unused land in urban areas. This commonly takes the form of developing an empty lot of land between two buildings, but can also involve the demolition of older or underused properties. Supporters of infill development believe that it makes efficient use of existing land and reduces burdens on municipal services, due to the fact the area is already being served by water, power, and communications infrastructure. Detractors, however, believe that it increases overcrowding and actually puts a greater burden on municipal services. Infill development can have benefits for developers and investors, but it can often be challenging from a commercial zoning perspective.

Infill Development Also Occurs in Suburban Areas

While infill development mainly refers to extremely dense urban areas, it can also be used to refer to suburban redevelopment as well. Many suburbs have patches of unused land interspersed between developed lots, which may be prime areas for development. Suburban infill projects typically involve larger parcels of land, and therefore allow developers to avoid many of the zoning issues that are often associated with urban infill projects.

Industrial Infill Development is Growing in Popularity

With the need for industrial space growing in a variety of major MSAs across the country, industrial infill development has become significantly more popular in recent years. In most cases, industrial infill projects involve demolishing older industrial properties that are no longer suitable for today’s tenants and replacing them with more suitable properties. Industrial infill projects, however, can often involve significant environmental cleanups, which can add additional costs and a greater degree of risk to a development project.


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