Friday, December 4, 2009

The rise of the suburban high rise.

In July, USA Today published an article chronicling the increase in high rise residential complexes in suburban areas throughout the United States. The paper attributed this trend to energy savings, traffic congestion, land prices and the prevalance of Asian investors in the real estate market.

While this trend has not affected the Harrisburg area in recent years, Harrisburg may be ripe for suburban high rise development soon. There are numerous residential high rise developments in the city of Harrisburg, all or most of which have or will face the prospect of increased costs resulting from Harrisburg's ongoing fiscal crisis. City residents and developers already face higher taxes and municipal utility charges than their suburban counterparts. But soon they may face the possibility of even higher city taxes or other fees designed to offset the debt created by the Harrisburg incinerator.

While certain of these fees will have questionable validity, the larger question is whether these fees will be enough to push the investors and developers into moving their high rise operations into the suburbs. A national trend already exists and conditions in Harrisburg already tend to push investors into the suburbs. How much more in taxation and municipal costs will it take for the Harrisburg area to go the way of the communities referenced in July's USA Today article?

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