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The Art of the New Urbanist Deal

Working paper #429
Witold Rybczynski

New urbanism proposes new models for the urban design of master-planned communi-ties and town centers. The financial performance of three projects is examined in detail: Seaside, a second-home resort in Florida; Lakelands, a master-planned community in Gaithersburg, Maryland; and Haile Village Center, a mixed-use residential, commercial, and retail center outside Gainesville, Florida. Seaside, which consists of 630 residential units, about 45,000 square feet of retail, and about 18,000 square feet of commercial space, has slowly developed into a financial success. The first lots sold in 1982 for $15,000; by 1992, the average price of new lots sold was $130,000 and by 2001 it was $690,000. The project has become a model for several larger second-home village-type resorts in northwest Florida. Lakelands, with 220 developable acres, has about 1,572 residential units (houses as well as multi-family), the majority produced by national homebuilders. The selling rate has been good: in the first three years, the project sold about 400 units a year. The land at Haile Village was originally bought for $2,500 per acre and is today sell-ing for more than $300,000 per acre; the value of the project at build-out is estimated to be about $500,000 per acre. Due to lack of visibility, there has been some difficulty in attracting a large variety of retail tenants.

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