Factors to Consider in Urban Development

Michael Snedeker
Jun 25 · 2 min read
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Michael Snedeker, an executive vice president at Elite Building Corp in Waltham, has been involved in guiding clients on project acquisitions and identifying projects for development. Michael Snedeker comes to Boston real estate with many years in commercial real estate.

As a major city that is attractive to business interests, Boston is always primed for commercial real estate development. However, building in an urban center comes with considerations. Commonly called urban infill development, development involves filling in gaps with residential housing, office, or mixed-use space in the city.

Some factors to consider come during pre-construction. Teams have to balance devising realistic schedules and budgets with factoring minimizing delays. This can be done successfully by building a knowledgeable team of experts that know how cities and their utilities work.

Teams also have to take a multi-disciplinary approach to plan the project. The team should include professionals from field operations, project management, and MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) coordination, who will coordinate construction activities and the logistics of the project.

Construction teams have to also evaluate whether to convert or demolish a building. In the city, unless the site has some historical significance, typically it is demolished. Many deterrents to converting a building include code upgrades, insufficient corridor width, and ceiling heights, among other limitations.

Coordinating safety measures and making sure there is storage space should also be factored into the project. Because urban projects are often in close vicinity to roads, other buildings, and pedestrian walkways, safety activities will include sidewalk and street closures, canopy and sidewalk sheds, and mesh tarps to protect pedestrians from falling objects, in addition to having to become familiar with emergency protocols.

Finally, teams should think about where to store equipment and material, which can be difficult in the city. Usually, construction teams lease parking lots, nearby apartment of office space, schools, and places of worship.

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