Density Brings in More Tax Income Than Big Box

Dense downtowns provide more tax revenues for cities than strip mall and big box development on a per acre basis, according to a new study.

A new study takes a holistic approach to comparing tax revenue from big box development and downtown, mixed-use development. The study, commissioned by the Sonoran Institute, finds that on a per acre basis mixed use, dense dowtown development yields higher tax revenues for communities than their suburban mall counterparts.

The study's author, Joe Minicozzi, points out that in developments such as Glenwood Meadows "that the walk across the parking lot from Chili's restaurant to Target at the Meadows is equivalent to about a two-block walk in downtown Glenwood Springs, past numerous storefronts." The loss of revenue that is incurred because of the large expanses of parking lots is significant.

Economic development is a critical topic in many communities, especially in the current economic climate, and revenue information comparing different types of development may be useful in making land use decisions. The data from the study indicates that the Meadows development in Glenwood Springs brings in approximately $141,590 per acre, while the Denver Centre development in downtown Glenwood Springs brings in approximately $264,00 per acre.

Minicozzi notes that "'New urbanist' style downtown redevelopment, with its focus on mixing high-density residential with retail and commercial office space in a pedestrian-friendly setting, also tends to yield higher property values."

"Add the cost of public services to accommodate the needs of a large mall development compared to a dense downtown area, and the cost-versus-benefit numbers are even more telling, Minicozzi said."

Thanks to Cathie Pagano

Full Story: Study: dense downtowns = higher tax yield


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