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Urban Rivers

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The Orchard

Urban rivers both bless and curse.

As open space with little potential for private real estate development, they can be de facto parks, offering distant and often dramatic vistas in the blinkered vistas of our standardized urban grid. Germany’s Wupper Valley and its Schwebebahn are one obvious exception. But for every asset an urban river represents—open space, vista, light and air, outright recreation or simple psychological release, urban wildlike, etc.—there is a nearly equivalent list of liabilities, real or imagined. Flood potential versus flood control. Private domain versus public access. The glass is simultaneously half full and half empty.

So now I’m occupied. As someone actually hostile to the mindset required for development as an investment strategy, I have to understand how “The Orchard” was assembled from a minimum of three distinct land owners (and probably more than five or six); how to leverage multiple purchases and patch together a cohesive holding with development potential; and then how to market Agincourt’s first suburb to a limited local audience.

During these six or seven years, I have imagined a range of characters and their motivations. It seems this evening that creating the owners of The Orchard will be my greatest challenge to date.

<more to come, including a survey plat of The Orchard>


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