Highlands Ranch, Colo. — U.S. cities seeking to drive growth and gain a competitive edge could find huge opportunity in redeveloping surplus industrial land. These cities can expect to benefit from ongoing sources of revenue generation, increased tax base and job creation, according to a new report by Arcadis. The Arcadis report ranks 27 U.S. cities by redevelopment opportunity that could attract renewed investment and bring life back to former industrial sites

The Arcadis Urban Land Restoration Index ranks the development potential of environmentally impaired land across 27 U.S. cities.  New York tops the ranking, boosted by its strength, continuing dynamic growth and relatively low costs to clean-up land negatively impacted by its industrial past. It ranks the highest for redevelopment across commercial, residential and industrial properties. According to New York City’s Office of Environmental Remediation’s research, the potential annual benefits to the city from their program alone are stunning – $2.2 billion in new capital investment, 6 million square feet of new building space, 2,200 new permanent jobs, 6,500 construction jobs, 1,000 new affordable housing units and $350 million in tax revenue. 

Thriving smaller cities such as Charlotte, Denver and Nashville are ranked in the top five, highlighting strong potential and prime opportunities for developers seeking to capitalize on the demand for modern urban spaces. The massive growth of the financial services sector in Charlotte and a strong technology and telecom sector in Denver have helped elevate those cities into the top five.

The index analyzes three key factors which play a significant role in the restoration and redevelopment of an industrial property – the cost of cleanup (remediation) to address environmental issues; the current or future potential value of the land itself; and, a more abstract but critically important factor referred to as city “dynamism” which is a reflection of the attractiveness, growth potential, real estate performance, resilience, and business environment that drive competitive advantage for cities.

Kurt Beil, Global Leader for Environmental Restoration at Arcadis said, “The health of our cities, our communities, and our environment is one of the most pressing issues we face in the United States today.  Proactively tackling the legacy of our proud industrial past by transforming environmentally distressed properties into thriving urban spaces is a critical step in securing a safe and sustainable future for our growing cities.”

The top ranking cities in the Arcadis Urban Land Restoration Index are:

  1. New York
  2. Charlotte
  3. Denver
  4. Nashville
  5. San Francisco
  6. Pittsburgh
  7. Chicago
  8. Miami
  9. Portland
  10. Los Angeles
  11. Seattle
  12. Houston
  13. Minneapolis
  14. New Orleans
  15. Tampa
  16. Philadelphia
  17. Washington DC
  18. Atlanta
  19. Indianapolis
  20. Dallas
  21. Boston
  22. San Diego
  23. Las Vegas
  24. Cleveland
  25. Baltimore
  26. Phoenix
  27. Detroit

“Industrial property owners are sitting on large tracts of environmentally impaired land in cities across the country,” Beil said. “With the right strategy and investment, these properties can be cleaned up and redeveloped to meet the ever-increasing demand for productive residential, commercial, and industrial land.  Unlocking the hidden and untapped value of industrial land could drive growth and transform communities across the U.S.  

“Unlocking and maximizing the value of urban industrial land requires two things — a clear surplus property strategy and a plan to integrate sustainable urban planning, financing, community engagement, restoration, redevelopment, and program delivery‎.”

By enabling industrial land owners, city leaders and developers to focus on common opportunities, the index will help unlock the potential of surplus industrial properties – breathing new life back into communities, creating a lasting legacy for citizens, and generating significant returns from prime, underutilized land.

Download the full report at www.arcadis.com/ULRI