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Can Community Land Trusts Work for Retail Centers?

New Orleans, San Francisco, and Albuquerque are exploring, and implementing, community land trusts as an economic development tool that can encourage development in business districts while assuring that local businesses are not displaced.
August 5, 2011, 9am PDT | Matthew Brian Hersh
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Miriam Axel-Lute looks at three examples of suffering commercial centers that are attempting to use a community land trust model (which has been primarily used for preserving residential districts). Examples include San Francisco's Japantown, Albuquerque's Sawmill and downtown New Orleans' business district. But implementing a CLT in a commercial environment is raising some difficult questions, says Axel-Lute:

"What would be the legal stake the CLT would have in the property, given the complicated existing ownership-deed restriction? air rights lease similar to residential CLTs' ground leases? What entity would have sufficient equity to take on the development?"

"Perhaps the widest open question for CLTs who want to forge a shared-equity economic development strategy is what 'stewardship' will mean for commercial properties."

Thanks to Matthew Brian Hersh

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Published on Friday, August 5, 2011 in Shelterforce
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