5 things to consider when sourcing a development site

Sometimes, the ideal development site falls into your lap and other times it can take some hunting to find what you’re looking for.

It can be helpful to understand what makes a piece of land ideal for development and what might create some challenges along the way. Not every piece of land will suit every single project. Some sites are better suited to specific kinds of developments. Going in with an idea of what to look for can make it so much easier in the long run. So, with this in mind, here are five things to consider when looking for a piece of land for your commercial or industrial project.

1. Check that zoning is in your favour

There is little point getting excited about a block of land for your development site if the zoning in the area restricts or prohibits its use for commercial or industrial development. So, first of all, you want to ensure that zoning isn’t going to block your progress or slow things down. Beyond basic zoning for commercial or industrial development there are also further guidelines around the kinds of commercial and industrial businesses that can operate within those zones. This is why it’s also a great idea to check for any further categorisation that may stop you in your tracks. There is some helpful information on the Queensland Government website about property development laws but if you’d love some help, you can also get in touch with our team.

2. Ensure there is demand for that kind of development in the area

Setting up a retail shop in a precinct overrun with takeaway shops may be a genius idea or it might be bust. The lack of competition may work in your favour but on the other hand there might also be a reason there are no other businesses offering similar services in the area. It’s possible people simply aren’t interested in retail shopping in that area. It all comes down to demand. Make sure you’ve done your research on past ventures in the area to get an idea of whether you might be taking the right or wrong kind of risk.

3. Consider the position of the development site within its location

How visible is the site you’re wanting to develop? Is visibility even important? What else is around that you may be competing against? These are the kinds of questions you want to ask when considering whether the position of your chosen development site within its location is going to help or hinder you. As a general rule, it’s going to be more important for a commercial property to be highly visible than an industrial one. That said, it’s useful to think about the kind of business that’s going to be operating within your development and how essential foot traffic or passing eyeballs will be to that business’s success.

4. Think about what’s already on the piece of land

While there are still a few prize blocks of land available that are yet to be developed, it’s also highly possible that you may need to redevelop a site. This can considerably impact the cost of the project—or it could work to your favour. The important thing is to simply take into account what might need to be done to the land before it can be developed into your project. This is where a basic understanding of site constraints and zoning come into play. For example, you may need to take into consideration service easements, landscape buffer zones and site batters. These have a crucial impact on the development of the land, will all need to be included in costs and may have an impact on site negotiations.

5. The size and shape of the land matters

The dimensions of a development site will entirely change what’s possible. What you’re really looking for is the total usable area of the block. Believe it or not, a meagre few square metres can impact on the requirements of the site from a council planning and Australian standard perspective.


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