Small Site in Urban Area: What would you build?

What would you do with a small parcel in a strong urban area? Let's say a 0.15 acre (6,500 SF) site.

It seems like most of the people here have experience with larger projects where there's more space to work with, but you may have to get creative to make the most out of a small site. I think a 6ish-story apartment building would be feasible, with the ground floor being mostly parking (maybe 30 units?). Curious what the community here would try and build, assuming there aren't zoning issues.

Comments (26)

Jun 21, 2019

Hi UncompahgRE, any of these threads helpful:

  • WSO Happy Hour DC Area: Thursday, 4/28, 8pm @ Roofer's Union in Adams Morgan networking @ Roofer's Union in Adams Morgan on Thursday 4/28. Respond if you guys would be ... Looking to put together an event for those of us in the DC area. Drinks and a light bit of ...
  • Seeking Advice, am I ruining my career? What would you do? where I am separate from my daughter and wife for potentially one to three years. What would you do in ... in an industry where people are being laid off monthly at my current site. To reiterate, thank you ... as you like regarding what you would do. Best regards, Your fellow monkey #accounting #finance ...
  • The guessing game: best site for Amazon's new HQ? What he's looking for?-Urban location close to a good university-The location has to be near ... a major airport Ideally: a cosmopolitan area with an ability to gauge global trends in art, fashion, and ... Fee fi fo fum I seek the site of a new HQ Bringing jobs and scouting talent I'll make ...
  • What Advice Would You Tell Yourself When You Were in University? university or early into your career, what would it be? Shed some knowledge you learned from your ... Hello WSOers, If you could give one piece of advice to your small balled freshman self going into ... experiences, and let the young bucks on this website learn more from this post than they did in school. to ...
  • What Field Are You And in What Broad Region? want. Some people struggle to find jobs in certain areas that are limited, so it would be nice to where ... The reason I ask this is because some areas are harder to find jobs in and I found a job in an ... area that does not have too much. I currently work in VC in the LA area. NOBODY has to get specific if ...
  • What would you do if you weren't in finance? If you weren't in finance, what would you do? I have a knack for extreme stuff. I think I'd ... I'd maybe instruct courses in those areas if I wasn't in finance. Or do some personal training, ...
  • What job search sites do you use? What job sites do you all use? I use indeed and simply hired. Is Doostang any good? I am in ... a small mid west city so there really aren't any financial headhunters here. I've been trying to ...
  • More suggestions...

Hope that helps.

Jun 27, 2019

Given where construction costs are trending and rental increases are starting to stall in major markets, I'd build a basketball court in the interim to build some goodwill with the community.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

    • 1
Jun 27, 2019

But then when the market is more favorable you're the guy who demolished the de facto community center for an apartment building.

    • 2
Most Helpful
Jun 27, 2019

Looked at a lot of these, as LA has a lot of 7,500 SF lots all over the city. What you can design is driven largely by parking requirements. Apartment site planning is almost surely limited to a single loaded corridor type of building which is not that efficient. I've underwritten a bunch, they don't really make sense unless you are getting a steal on the land buy, and limited/no parking (certainly no sub-T parking) plus Type V wood frame or Type III mod to reduce your hard costs.

    • 15
Jun 27, 2019

@WallStreetOasis.com @jgsantos I am trying to SB Rick Ross here and can't. It lets me click, and then it says he has a banana, but the banana doesn't appear without hovering over it, and when I refresh it is gone. Just FYI

    • 2
Jun 27, 2019

Thanks. I'll check.

    • 1
Jun 27, 2019

@WallStreetOasis.com Same here. It's not letting me give Rick Rosay any bananas.

Jun 28, 2019

Working on a similar sized lot at the moment, zoning is pretty flexible. Resi wasn't viable due to parking/pricing, office wasn't viable due to just about everything, too small for even a boutique hotel operator. I found the best margin to be in a 50 room / 250 bed, 3-4 star hostel.

    • 1
Jun 28, 2019

That's really interesting, I've never seen a hostel deal before. Were there no parking requirements for the hostel? And could you or someone give a basic rundown of how you would go about underwriting a hostel? (rent, vacancy, expenses, etc.)

Jun 28, 2019

Have a deal like this... 6,299 SF with an attractive buildable, but zoning caps height at around 14 floors... As such, we are looking at a boutique (read: non-flagged) hotel. Riskier development for many reasons, but pencils out better than office/MF given the constraints of zoning.

    • 3
Jun 28, 2019

A few questions: How many units are you looking to build for the hotel? How are you handling parking? And are you self-managing, or having a third-party management company manage the hotel?

Jun 28, 2019

140-150 rooms, dependent on how efficient we decide to make the rooms. We are underway discussion with several hotelier management/ownership groups, so yes it would be some third-party group.

As far as parking, downtown zoning doesn't require it, so none in the longer-term. While we continue branding/pre-dev, we will use the limited parking spaces to carry property tax.

Happy to chat offline as well.

    • 1
Jul 3, 2019

Affordable/workforce/student housing. Only way you'll get thru the politics of limited parking and justify the construction costs.

Jul 3, 2019
Comment