Selling a Challenging Commercial Property

Contributing Author: Jay Verro, CCIM

In early April of 2017, I was invited to do a Listing Presentation for a 22 acre parcel of Light Industrial zoned land in Saratoga County, the fastest growing County of New York State. Sounds like a listing that most commercial brokers would jump all over, right? Let’s take a closer look at the marketing challenges that accompanied the property:

  • There are 2 parcels of land that lie within 2 different Townships.
  • A County Sewer Easement bisects both parcels in the most developable portion of the property and there are no current lateral connections that serve the existing structures on the parcels.
  • An electric transmission line crosses the western portion of the property with an approximately 60’ wide easement.
  • The property is terrain challenged and to physically get to the top of the property where there are the majority of the developable land requires an access easement from the neighbor to the south, who is also trying to sell.
  • A Class C protected trout stream winds through the property, which creates the need for a 100’ setback in addition to the additional wetlands that are on the parcels.
  • The permitting and approval process would require coordination among no less than 6 State, Town and County Agencies as well as Utility companies.
  • Without the significant expense of adding a bridge to traverse the stream, the result was approximately 2 acres of developable land out of the 22 total acres.

On 04/13/2017, I was awarded the listing agreement and then the fun began. It was extremely easy to focus on the property challenges, which most of the prospective buyers who inquired did. That’s when a combination of creativity and market knowledge come to the forefront, not to disregard “a little luck”! Upon learning of a property a few parcels away going under contract, it was time to reach out to that buyer’s broker. As luck would have it, he was also negotiating with the land owner who owned the adjacent land locked, yet developable parcel next to the developable acres at the top of my client’s property. At first, it was an “I’m not interested” response. Rather than merely accepting that answer, I provided the other broker with a copy of the Conservation Easement of the Town Code as well as ideas on how the 22 acres that I was selling was of great benefit to his client from the following standpoints:

  • Provided additional acres for greenspace vs. using his more valuable land
  • Provided an opportunity for a tax break under the Town Code
  • Afforded him the opportunity to provide the community with access to a stream, which is stocked every spring

On 04/13/2018, we CLOSED on the property at 89.6% of the original asking price! When you want to buy or sell commercial real estate, contact me at You can also learn more by visiting our website at

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