In D.C., an Attempt at Crowdsourcing Real Estate Shows Promise

Emily Badger writes of the traditional process by which developers identify what kinds of new development a neighborhood needs (i.e. by not asking anyone in said neighborhood), and a web tool in unveiled in December aimed at changing this.
March 12, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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According to Dan Miller, a developer with WestMill Capital in Washington, D.C., the present state of affairs has not always been the case, "Real estate development a long time ago was done by a family, or a person who generally had some sense of being in the community. They built something that they wanted, that they cared about, that they tended to own for a long time. It wasn't always corporate development."

As Badger reports, Miller and WestMill are piloting a web-based program they think can bring a local voice to figuring out what a neighborhood wants, and not what the market can give them. "The site, Popularise, is currently asking what potential customers want to see inside a property WestMill owns, a 4,250-square foot building on Washington's eclectic H Street Northeast, that had previously been an underutilized convenience store."

"If the real-estate crowdsourcing concept proves workable, Miller and his colleagues envision expanding it – to other neighborhoods and other real-estate developers, other cities and even other parts of the planning process."

Within the next two months, WestMill intends to announce the tenant of the H Street space.

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Published on Thursday, March 8, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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