Fans of the site know about my earlier article referring to Joe Minicozzi, the developer who discovered that dense development brings in tax dollars at a more efficient rate than less-dense development on the edges of cities (you can find the post here). Turns out, Minicozzi was just in Modesto to discuss his work and offer an example based on some buildings in the city. Minicozzi found that what was true in southeastern cities also holds true for Modesto: Downtown buildings are more efficient sources of revenue than developments on the outskirts of the city. Here is an excerpt from the Modesto Bee article highlighting Minicozzi’s findings:
“Modesto and Stanislaus County have pulled about $26,800 per acre in property taxes from a building in the 900 block of J Street that has housed a sports bar and other businesses. That’s compared with $6,900 per acre from Vintage Faire Mall.
The three-story downtown building stands on less than an acre. The mall covers 94 acres of what used to be prime farmland.”
Now we have solid proof that even in the sprawling central valley, it makes more sense to build up older, central business districts than to pin revenue hopes on strip malls and subdivisions on farmland. Also, it should be noted that Minicozzi’s talk and analysis was paid for by grants and private foundations. I hope central valley leaders and developers were listening.