By taxing the improvements made to land and not just the land itself our municipalities encourage the destruction of value at the same time they discourage putting land to its highest and best use. This is never made more clear than when supposed investors purchase improved land and immediately tear down anything of value on the property in order to reduce their tax burden while they wait for the market uptick which would allow them a windfall profit.
Local entrepreneurs often claim, perhaps sincerely, that their intention is to raze an existing structure because they are about to build something bigger and better. There are at least a few examples of empty lots, parking lagoons, and provisional (ahem) “parks” that were going to become “something else” only circumstances intervened…apparently. So let’s use our imagination and see if we can see what we were told we would see when the existing structures on these lots were torn down.
This is a high end restaurant.
This is a multiplex movie theater.
This is a center for the arts!
There are other properties which have been vacant for so long that the supposed motivation for their evisceration extends beyond the limits of my memory. However, promises have since been made regarding redevelopment which were as ill-fated as their philosophical ancestors.
Look, a luxury condo complex with ground floor retail…awesome.
A department store, very retro.
Honorable mention. A beautifully well maintained fully occupied historic apartment building was torn down to build a Museum of Springfield History…which eventually was created by creatively reusing and expanding a building across the street…but the lot…still completely empty.
Oh yeah. This: