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Thread: New Innercity Infill Strategy

  1. #1
    C2E Posting Power
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    YEG: Alberta Avenue, Boyle Street, McCauley | YLW: Shannon Lake | PHX: San Tan Valley

    Default New Innercity Infill Strategy

    It seems the city is obsessed with getting involved with development for better or for worse. Disasters like certain TOD's and certain airport closures are two that come to mind.

    Maybe they should consider something on a smaller, yet more meaningful scale like buying up dilapidated housing blocks in distressed areas of the innercity.

    This would potentially address several key objections people have with these areas:

    1) The city can help remove the greenfield advantage the surburbs have by knocking these homes down and selling the naked lots back to developers at a discount.

    2) Offering larger homes at non infill prices - families expect much larger homes than a 1950's era bungalow.

    3) Conventional developers can mimic what they do in new developments - they can have 3 show homes next to each other, with specific naked lots immediately available or already under construction.

    4) People love going show homing on the weekends - this would force traffic into these areas that would never have gone there before.

    5) The visual queue that things are "turning around" on a larger scale and not taking decades to accomplish - momentum would be built.

    6) People who are not interested in building would be a lot more likely to buy an existing home in the area.

    The city initially absorbs a loss on each sold, but it would be made back up with higher taxes on a more valuable property, plus saving the costs of additional infrastructure and services. An alternative funding frame work could be neighborhood specific CRL's.

    $700,000+ infills are just not an option in some areas of the city and can't be expected to turn an area around.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I don't think that's really infill if you're just replacing SFH with larger SFH. The city would have to take a substantial loss on each lot to make it attractive. The lot price is really the only different between greenfield and infill builds. The cost to build is almost the same. So say 150-200K loss on each lot. Even if the appraised value tripled, how many years would it take to recoup that loss?

    Infill really means to increase density. Not necessarily increase house size.

    And then there's the issue of how attractive it would be to live on the 'nice' block in a run down neighbourhood. I think infill of this scale is best done organically by small time developers on spec or owners.

    In our neighbourhood, we've had spec infill done by small time developers that range in price from 400-800. Oddly, the higher priced stuff sold instantly, but the lower priced stuff languished. Owner-driven development is generally just a replacement, rather than infill. That goes around 650-1.2M.

  3. #3


    I think the city should look at doing something along this line. Some problem properties are being visited up to 200 times a year between eps, ambulance, and the fire department according to mckeen. I see the disgrace every day personally. One of the problems are rooming houses which in reality are fire traps full of problems. Sfh would be good to right the imbalance of 80% rental in places like McCauley. These lots are valued under $200000 and expropriation would save them money in no time constantly visiting flop houses

  4. #4
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Edmonton (Norwood)


    There aren't really any full blocks of dilapidated housing. Most of the problem houses are scattered across the whole area - every block has a few of them. That said, I think there is still room for this sort of strategy. Target small clusters instead of full blocks for teardown and lot reshuffling - turn two 10 m lots into a 7.5 m lot for a skinny SFH and two 6.2 m lots for semi-detached. Get heritage in to target the big old houses that could be restored, and sell at a discount to people willing to commit to a plan and a timeline.


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