Publicly Owned Parcels

June Roundup: Cross-Sector Coordination, Preserving Rental Housing, Comments on Facility Co-Location, and Other Notes

By Michael A. Spotts

As summer (and vacation season) starts, it's easy for news and events to slip through the cracks. To bring everyone up to speed, here's a roundup of what Neighborhood Fundamentals has been doing over the last month:

New for Shelterforce: Reversing the community benefits paradigm for publicly owned parcels

By Michael A. Spotts, President
Twitter: @MichaelASpotts

Last week, my former colleague Ahmad Abu-Khalaf (follow on Twitter at: @Ahmad_AbuKhalaf) an I wrote an article for Shelterforce about our past research for Enterprise Community Partners on utilizing publicly owned parcels to provide community benefits. In this article, we talk about successful public-private partnerships that have yielded positive results, but pose the question: are we missing an opportunity to more aggressively address gaps in wealth between communities and households? To answer the question, we put forward a potential new model:

What if instead, public agencies granted site control—and the ability to capture a greater percentage of value appreciation—to a mission-driven entity such as a large-scale nonprofit developer, community development corporation, cooperative, or community land trust? This community-based, mission-oriented master developer could then theoretically subcontract with market-rate developers for portions of the site from a position of strength, and ensure that the community-serving portions of the development are not marginalized. Over time, a successful development would not just provide affordable homes and community space, but it could also provide on-going dividends to the community that might otherwise flow to non-local corporations and shareholders.

For more information, read the full Shelterforce article to get our thoughts on what has worked in the past, what can be done to create a more equitable approach, and important considerations for moving a new model forward. You can also access the full Public Benefit from Publicly Owned Parcels series