Today, all development is negotiated. It’s been a fact of life for developers since Jane Jacobs anda coalition of community groups defeated the ultimate power broker Robert Moses and his dreamof building Lower Manhattan expressway in 1968. Ever since the 1961 publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the development process has become series of complicated negotiations with both community groups and governmental officials. How you approach this process is critical to the success of winning approval for your project — or watching your hard work go down in defeat by a planning board or other governmental entity. The reality is that even if the project is “as of right,” you will still need to engage in tri-party negotiations between the private sector, the public sector and the community. And they are not equal partners.The suggestions below will give your project the best chance of moving forward and winning approval in the entitlement process.
Bob Antonicello’s Top 10 Tips for Redevelopment Success:
- BE POSITIVE
in your approach and language so you and your team are viewed as winners.
- BE ATTENTIVE
and spend more time listening than talking.
- DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING.
Do your homework, on the street and in the community.
- EXPECT ANY AND ALL COMPLICATIONS.
Murphy, as in Murphy’s Law, is an implied partnerin all development deals.
- ASK YOURSELF “WHAT DON’T I SEE?”
for that’s what will cost you money.
- RESPECT AND ACKNOWLEDGE
the emotions and psychology of community oppositionwithout getting emotional yourself.
- BE GENEROUS
and leave something on the table for the residents.
- BE HUMBLE.
Even if (especially if!) you are a master of the universe, community residentswill eat you and your project up on general principle.
- KNOW YOUR OUTCOME
and exactly what you want to accomplish.
- BE MINDFUL
that you are working in someone’s city and community and show as much respect for their home as you’d want them to show in yours.
How you approach the development process and the people involved says a lot about you, your company and your intentions and ultimately is a barometer of your success in working with active civic groups and residents. All land-use decisions are political decisions, so your ability to arrive at a consensus is key to your project’s success.