Market Downturn Is Good News For Land Conservationists

While plenty of investors and homeowners are feeling the pain of the current real estate market, groups trying to protect land from development are welcoming the downturn.

"There's a green lining to the real-estate cloud: Developers are dropping plans to build on some choice pieces of land and instead are selling it for such uses as public parks and nature preserves.

One of the big beneficiaries is Trust for Public Land, a San Francisco nonprofit group that specializes in buying land for conservation. The Trust often struggled during property-boom years to find sellers among land owners near urban centers. Now, U.S. property owners from Massachusetts to Hawaii are flocking to it."

"In Portland, Ore., a developer that had approval to build 65 homes on a 27-acre parcel agreed in February to sell it for $4 million, a 20% discount to the land's appraised value before the housing market softened. In Groton, Mass., the Trust last July paid $19.4 million to preserve a 360-acre farm that was owned by a developer who abandoned plans to build 130 homes as housing there also slumped. The Portland land will be added to an existing park; Groton will receive the land for open space."

Full Story: Real-Estate Drop Has a Green Lining

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