Selling Commercial Land in New York (The Easy Way)

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Selling Commercial Land in New York (The Easy Way)

Bart Waldon

Selling off unneeded commercial land assets or industrial-zoned development sites to liquidate assets into active income streams or simply eliminate tax burdens and unused acreage upkeep can be an arduous and intricate process, especially around bustling metro markets like Long Island, Albany, Syracuse and the ever-notorious NYC deal sphere. However, for corporations looking to shed excess operations, shutter distribution facilities or developers with an entire Manhattan block to offload, there are some tactical approaches that simplify selling bulk commercial land holdings in New York at optimal prices swiftly.

Tackle Timing Strategically

Despite broader New York land valuations eclipsing over $230,000 per acre statewide on average currently, from a commercial real estate perspective, winter tends to present buyers leverage opportunities thanks to lulls in building kickoffs and endemic development delays during colder months while infrastructure projects also sit dormant awaiting spring ground break according to analysis by commercial brokers negotiating deals statewide regularly. 

With urgent cash needed to support off-season revenue gaps for many service-based businesses over winter or simply less competing inventory clouding the market continuously during peak autumn activity periods, listing during Q1 spurs more viable offers emerging from previously quieted buyer circles awakening from seasonal dormancy financially in the new year yet still unable to immediately deploy assets into buildout projects just yet.

Evaluate Parcel Permits & Zoning Closely First

While one Hudson Valley owner may see a century-old factory warehouse property located along the Embarcadero shipping channel which offered operational practicality long ago yet remains vacant for years now in desperately need of demolition due to safety decay as little more than a teardown burden, developers may value its mixed-use zoning status allowing for a potential commercial-residential hybrid replacement at densities supporting lucrative buildable square footage in tight supply locally. Checking allowable usage codes and evaluating structures onsite for any historically-deemed architectural preservation worth safeguarding provides critical pricing context. 

Land prices surge when unbeknownst municipal ordinances limit development density drastically which brokers afterwards belatedly discover reviewing planning agency records denoting parcels available acreage to be buildable at just 20% of standard local ratios after sale contracts finalize. Quantifying all vertical construction potentials zoned into a property before even pursuing deals remains the only prudent course protecting asset value securing optimal deal price points accounting for these metrics early when listing sites for sale.

Fractionalize Listings Segmenting Parcels

Rather than offloading an entire 50-acre industrial campus bordering the Staten Island Expressway as a singular listed tract for sale, subdividing the total holding into smaller component assets like a 15-acre vehicle weigh station and maintenance facility segment, a 7-acre primary warehouse logistics parcel, a 3-acre idle office building complex plus remaining open acreage for discretionary builds or sale separately instantly exponentially increases potential buying parties now able to selectively bid suited to budget and intent parameters now much more narrowly tailored product offerings. This “itemized options” tactic encourages wider bidder engagement that smaller operators otherwise priced entirely out pursing sites at eight figure total register valuations can now participate pursuing purpose-aligned sections divested from former unified assets consolidated previously by the exiting owner. Fractionalized listings open buyer pool breadth substantially.

Allow for Protracted Deal Timeframes

While developers heavy in contract backlogs or local builders with bonded projects in queue may offer strong bids and pricing upside potential given their growth orientations securing future development pipeline opportunities on listings, their capacity executing contracts immediately may remain months away still as existing obligations get completed preceding land deal takeovers or rezoning approval processes play out with long lead bureaucratic delays all too endemic dealing in New York market. 

Savvy commercial land sellers entertain these “rights of first refusal” bid contingencies still rather than just delisting entirely when eager buyers request 9-12 month escrow extensions allowing them option-like flexibility to finalize financing in the interim or navigate approval obstacles before formally acquiring asset ownership vehicle land sites. Even modest non-refundable earnest money deposits exchanged upfront securing waiting period deals positions motivated purchaser offers favorably ensuring inevitable land deal closings once their operational capacities freely up again to activate buys post-escrow without losing leverage and bargaining positioning achieved initially. Find patience securing optimal commercial property sales values in New York.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, timing real estate cycles smartly identifying when buyer leverage may increase bidding up proposals counters the inherent negotiation obstacles all commercial land sellers face pursuing fair value offers during busier seasons continually. Performing due diligence quantifying land parcel attributes accurately, imaginatively subdividing where prudent to open buyer opportunities and embracing pending periods allowing staged deals vetting purchaser credibility gradually all provide check listed tactics bolstering end valuation confidence securing deals for perceptive NYC metro and upstate owners seeking creative routes navigating the notoriously complex Empire State development properties deal sphere more smoothly. With these insights now in hand, contact our local office to discuss how we may align optimal buyer types to your listings positioned for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What metrics heavily influence commercial land valuations when selling in New York?

Zoning density limits dictating buildable square footage potential, parcel acreage scale, highway or shipping channel adjacency, utility infrastructure already installed onsite, previous structure conditions, nearby transit access, walkability to metro centers and district property tax rates all sway commercial site appraisals significantly during deal negotiations.

Should I parcel out a large commercial land tract when selling or list as a combined lot?

We generally recommend subdividing or “condo-izing” larger listings (50+ acres) into multiple specialized segments buyers can bid on individually aligned specifically to current business purposes like a distribution staging parcel, equipment storage lot, freight weigh station section, etc rather than requiring one buyer acquire an entire tract not fully utilizing acreage themselves longer term.

What can really delay closing timeframes for commercial land deals in NY?

Rezoning density approvals if buyers intend major builds, environmental site assessments dictating any remediation contingencies requiring completion and commercial lending terms involving multiple layers of underwriting for asset collateralization all tend to hamper rapid site acquisition finalizations unlike buying simpler residential plots. Wise sellers build longer runways into contracts topping 12+ months accommodating these roadblocks.

Should I bundle commercial buildings onto land sales or try to sell assets separately?

Bundling building structures already occupying sites streamlines necessary demolition and redevelopment responsibilities new owners must tackle before advancing their own project plans otherwise stalled out-of-gate until addressing existing outfitted unusable assets transferred requiring razing costs upfront should current infrastructure remain incompatible blocking intended uses acquiring lands solely.

What is the best way to value commercial land fairly when preparing to sell around metro NYC?

Hire certified commercial property appraisers experienced performing valuation analysis specific to asset classes like industrial zoned vacant land, urban mixed-use development sites and standalone brick/mortar retail/office buildings based on current zoning codes, neighboring parcel trends and district growth outlooks weighted greater than statewide multipliers alone that fail accounting for hyperlocal supply-demand dynamics accurately calculating asset worth. Appraisals add credibility.

How can I determine serious buyers from initial soft offers when selling?

Scrutinize financing proof letters confirming capital availability, review construction bond lineages verifying project execution capacity historically, require upfront earnest money deposits from bidders and pursue staged extensions allowing deeper buyer due diligence supporting initial offers rather than requiring immediate land deal closes. Time vetting bidder substance separates true project developers from speculative wholesalers seeking quick flips. Prioritize credible buyers whose business models and financials withstand diligent scrutiny.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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