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Distressed Real Estate Project Essay

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Many Americans today live in conditions of urban blight, stranded in marginalized areas which are not viewed as attractive investments by developers. Yet properties in these neighborhoods can yield immense benefits to the developer’s pocketbook as well as his conscience. All distressed areas have characteristics to recommend them, if one is willing to take risks and reject myopic thinking these appealing aspects can be harnessed to generate profits and revitalize the surrounding community. One city struggling with vast tracts of neglected real estate is Buffalo, NY. This mid-sized metropolitan area boasts several institutions of higher learning, one of which is the University at Buffalo (UB), the largest public university in the Northeast. This institution may be the key to revitalizing a distressed area of Buffalo while making a tidy profit for the developer.
Currently around 30,000 people are enrolled in UB and the school is having difficulty finding acceptable accommodations for its students. Buffalo was once a busy industrial hub and most of the city, including the area surrounding UB’s north campus, has already been densely developed into single-family homes and retail stores. As a result of these constraints and the city’s zoning laws which do not allow more than three unrelated people to live together in a single-family home, demand for student housing remains unmet. There is a way to supply the needed student housing, generate a stable and sizable financial return, and provide many social benefits to the distressed urban area near UB. All of these goals can be accomplished through the adaptive re-use of an old elementary school building just a few blocks from campus.
A non-profit organization currently occupies th...


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...s at UB can volunteer their time to mentoring local children. Neighborhood kids will be welcomed into the center for sports, homework help, and self-esteem building activities. Students will reap the benefits of volunteering and may be more inclined to remain in the Buffalo area after graduation. Not only will this be a wonderful resource for parents and children alike, but it will also strengthen students’ ties to the Buffalo community.
Any real estate project must be able to generate an appropriate financial return on investment, but a property which can also contribute to the surrounding community’s social and economic vibrancy is really something special. There is no doubt that transforming this run-down former elementary school into sorely needed student housing fits an important need for the community and makes economic sense from an investment standpoint.


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