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PJ ConnollyStrong Towns Member
Bard MBA in Sustainability Student
Asked a question 9 months ago

You mention the Land to Improvement ratio signaling redevelopment opportunities. Wondering if you have examples of actual ranges of ratios (like 3:1 or 4:1) you see for these in different cities across the nation right now? As I am not in the development industry, I don't know if these ratios are actually being used by developers to find potential opportunities.

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Paul CorderStrong Towns Member
City of Lebanon, TN Planning Director

I am not a developer either but a City Planner.  I use this number to see what parts of town are under preforming.  

In one section on Main Street a lot of the improvement values are less than the Land Value.  For example one has a 7,500 sqft building on it with an improvement value of $140,100 and a land value of $272,500.

This area is zoned for Commercial only.  As an Urban Planner I recognize that this is a location that is not zoned correctly.  Placing a more flexible zoning district on the land that would allow for a mix of uses is good for the property owner and for the City.  In this case the ratio is negative and is pretty obvious.  

I had a rezoning once that had a few really strong NIMBY opponents .  When I looked at my ratio map I noticed that the only people that spoke against the rezoning had put a lot of money into their own houses (better than 10:1 ratio) but all of the other housing in the neighborhood sat at about 2:1 and needed to be redeveloped or rezoned. The rezoning failed despite my recommendation. 

I run the numbers for the whole city at once using the tax data but in some areas like farmland it is not useful.