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Commercial Real Estate FAQ With Stephen Epstein On Real Estate Development & Investments

How Hard Is It To Rezone Land For Real Estate Development Projects?

The following Q&A was completed as part of our conversational Commercial Real Estate FAQ Interview Series, we hope you find it helpful.

Rezoning land for real estate development projects can really go either way. You may run into certain situations when it’s simple and relatively straight forward, and you might run into situations where it’s incredibly complex, complicated, and expensive. The best thing one can do is to seek the representation of an attorney or other professional in land entitlements to work through the process with you, ensuring that no stone is left unturned and you’re gearing up for the most successful possible result. Under no circumstances is it something that a developer should take on their own. 

How hard is it to rezone land for real estate development projects? You know, this is a really interesting question because rezoning land can be very very easy, or it can be incredibly complex and impossible, expensive, you know, difficult to do, and it really just depends on your location and where you are. Are you in a favorable state where they are pro-development? Are you in a favorable city that’s pro-development and pro-business? Are you in a favorable neighborhood that’s pro-business and pro-development? Are you in a favorable block across from neighbors who are pro-development and want to see what you’re building? So, it’s very complex. Getting land rezoned for different uses is 100% the territory of experts. You want to work with very solid engineers, you want to work with very solid real estate entitlement attorneys or professionals that all they do is work to rezone land. You do not, under any circumstance, want to attempt this on your own unless you’ve done it many many times and you’re familiar with the area that you’re operating in. So, to think that you could just take an agricultural farm and turn it into, you know, a glam camping resort or that you could take an abandoned gas station and turn it into a hotel – I mean, you’re playing with fire.

 So the best thing you can do is hire professionals that do this everyday for a living, and that’s what developers do. They hire professionals; they hire professionals for every aspect of the project from start to finish. So a real estate developer, unfortunately, has to be an expect in all these things, but not a master of any of them. So, it’s kind of an interesting nuance. You have to know enough about it to ask the right questions, hire the right people, and manage it very very carefully understand everything that’s happening, and then move on to the next step in the development project. 

About the author

Richard Wilson