The story about Kingston’s historic maximum security prison in today’s Globe and Mail (photos) offers an interesting example of looking for the highest and best use for a property.  Development is a relatively common problem which become more interesting if a building already exists on the site:

  • Should you try to attract different types of tenants who would use the space in a different way? [1] [2]
  • Should you incur the cost of tearing down before rebuilding something newer and different?  (what is the social cost of destroying this historic building?)
  • Would waiting enable you to make a better informed decision and reduce the cost of risk (a.k.a. exploiting the “option value” in a location)?

This building is also an interesting example of how a redevelopment which increases the value of a property could also increase the value of nearby properties.