The easiest way to find development opportunities for multifamily is to canvass the city based on units allowed. Deepblocks has built a city-wide search in which every parcel already has all its zoning rules baked in; that way, they are searchable.
Searching by units allowed is most straightforward in cities with zoning ordinances that include a unit-density value. This metric can vary from city to city and even within zoning ordinances. For example, Miami uses units per acre metric, while Los Angeles uses units per square feet.
There are cases where there is no unit-density value; we have to do some math to generate an approximate unit value. I will go through this math below.
Math for allowable units from unit density versus FAR.
Unit density makes things simple. Here is an example:
Unit Density: 500 units per acre
Lot Size: 10,000 SF
Lot Size in Acre: 10,000 SF / 43,560 (SF in an acre) = .23 acres
Total Units Allowed: .23 acres * 500 = 115 units
When we only have FAR, for example. Here is the math:
Lot Size: 10,000 SF
Total Buildable: 50,000 SF
Average Unit Area: 1,000 SF
Loss Factor + Amenities = 25%
Total Units Math: 50,000 SF * 75% / 1,000 SF = 37.5 units
Depending on the city, we might have to round down when the unit density calculator results in a decimal.
Finding Land for Multifamily Development?
When developers tell us, “I am looking for land for development,” I wonder if they mean any property where they can build a certain number of units. When land is scarce in already populated areas, properties with high development multiples are a great opportunity.
Plenty of inefficient, older buildings can be replaced with ones that better fit the needs of a city. The subject of demolition is tricky and sensitive. However, there should and could be a data-driven approach to understanding what would be best to replace.
More. will be revealed,
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Olivia Ramos is the CEO of Deepblocks, an AI-powered software that automates the site selection process for developers and investors.
See how quickly you can find your next development site here (our record is 3 minutes).