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Branson seeks advice on how to revitalize Highway 76; will designers study the market?


For a decade, the first mile or two of State Highway 76 west of US 65 in Branson has languished. In this section of the Strip, most of the construction of restaurants, motels and retail strip centers took place 30 t0 40 years ago, under the economic conditions and design sensibilities of the time. For most of a year, the City of Branson’s leadership has been working toward a vision for the revitalization of this portion of the Strip.

The City has followed the usual path of soliciting proposals from firms with expertise in land-use planning, incorporating the disciplines of engineering, architecture and design. The City is nearing the point of awarding a contract for producing a plan with design standards that will to some extent dictate the look of this part of the Strip, much of which was heavily damaged by the February 29, 2012 tornado.

Design standards have another effect, which is to set constraints on the returns on investment in land and building. Real estate appraiser Skip Preble takes a critical look at how land-use planners often neglect to evaluate real estate markets when they formulate design standards in “How Marketing Could Boost Land Development,” published on the New Geography web magazine.

Can land-use planners can be expected to examine real estate market data and translate what they learn into practical design standards? How would a governmental body, in adopting regulations incorporating the new design standards, know whether they will work well with the realities of future real estate markets?

 

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About Harry Styron

I'm a lawyer who lives in Branson, Missouri, whose professional interests involve real estate, construction and local government.

2 responses »

  1. Thanks for referencing my article in your blog post. How has the community reacted to the idea of considering market analysis in their community planning efforts?

    Reply
    • Skip,
      As far as I know, the City of Branson is obtaining input from the design side of the land-planning discipline.

      I appreciate the perspective of your article that I referenced, but feel that I should point out that the existing functionally obsolete commercial development of this area evolved under market forces with little governmental direction.

      While wide-eyed idealism on the part of planners is easy to criticize, entrepreneurs make a lot of decisions which turn out to be expensive and persistent mistakes. When consumer preferences shift, adapting existing streets and buildings to accommodate changes is sometimes not feasible. Knowledge of markets is imperfect, and placing bets with bricks and mortar has huge downside risks.

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