Hill District Vacant Property Strategy

Completed in 2011, the Greater Hill District Master Plan featured two main components: Program Initiatives and Urban Design Proposals. The Program Initiatives presented policies and programs designed to fulfill community goals. The Urban Design Proposals presented projects to improve the physical environment and to leverage development. During the planning process, community members discussed numerous topics to address in the Master Plan, including the issue of vacant property in the neighborhood. As a result, the completed plan includes a program initiative called the Comprehensive Vacant Property Strategy.

In 2012, the Consensus Group took the first step to explore this important program initiative. The Consensus Group opened a Request-For-Proposals and assembled a team of consultants to study the issue of vacant property.

This study required a detailed parcel-by-parcel survey of vacant properties throughout the Hill District. The planning team compiled data about each vacant parcel and building, and reviewed relevant planning recommendations made as part of the Hill District Master Plan and Greenprint. For vacant lots, future uses that had been recommended in past neighborhood plans, such as new construction or green space, were matched precisely to specific vacant properties. A wide range of other indicators, such as homeownership, tax status and potential risk of undermining, were collected along with an assessment of physical conditions.


The project team spent time on the ground collecting real time data about the condition of vacant parcels and properties throughout the Hill District. This information was then geocoded and mapped, overlaid with existing plans, and analyzed to understand cost of high level recommendations to address the vacant properties.

All of this data was analyzed, along with more generalized information about market conditions and neighborhood assets and challenges, providing a solid basis for developing this Hill District Vacant Property Strategy.

For vacant buildings, this study recommends which buildings should be kept and recycled and which should be demolished. This study also identifies a number of properties that will need to be discussed further among community members to determine the best course of action. At a broader scale, this study identifies priority areas where immediate action should be taken to address vacancy. Areas where more planning and study is required have also been identified, to create opportunities for community members to help shape and determine the best future use(s) for specific neighborhood areas.

Analysis and recommendations are summarized in the report and in an accompanying vacant property database. The update-able database is available as a set of GIS layers and can be accessed through an interactive online mapping and analysis tool.