Seeking Benefits From Developers Receiving Development Bonuses

Austin_Skyline_1560189a(Community Matters) I haven’t read the proposed ordinance referred to in AAS article: Austin might seek more from developers of downtown high-rises. And, when the City grants additional development rights (height, setback, zoning changes) there’s often a huge increase in the value of a particular property.

It doesn’t seem inappropriate to require a slither of this increase in value to accrue to the public, and of course we shouldn’t impose draconian costs or fees. Developers are always gonna complain about any assessment – who doesn’t try to minimize cost, maximize profit? Asking Austin citizens to forgo any fees associated with development bonuses sounds unreasonable.

Unless . . . well . . . maybe we ought to give developers an option. We could offer a choice, equity participation in lieu of upfront costs. If we grant development bonuses which increase the value of a project by 10, or 20%, then they grant us options so that we’ll be due 10% to 20% of any realized gains. That’ll help minimize upfront costs which “inhibit desired development.” Come to think of it, maybe we ought to 86 any fee or set aside development costs and just allow developers to share a slither of the increased value bonus with an equity option.

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