GEV Focus and Intent

The catastrophic consequences of sprawl development have come to be widely recognized by planners, environmentalists, social scientists, and the general public. The consequences are not merely ecological, but social, and effecting personal health as well. Until recently, new community development did little to address these consequences. One result is that there is a virtually untapped market of people who desire more community life, greater ecologically sustainability, and a higher quality of life than suburban development can provide.

Our Mission
The people who make up GEV share these values:

  • We believe that for our species to survive and thrive we have to become more successful at creating and inhabiting sustainable communities.
  • We believe that people, if given a choice, will choose higher quality-of-life over the illusion that convenience, security, and value are promised by conventional suburban development.
  • We believe that our capitalist market system s the most powerful tool for making sustainable community widely accepted and produced.

GEV Intent and Strategy
GEV will find and exploit gaps in the real estate market where sustainable community development has the potential to outperform conventional development. GEV will utilize four advantages to achieve this goal: Preferential acquisition, preferential regulatory treatment, untapped market niche, and our strategic alliance with the leading planner of sustainable communities.

Preferential Acquisition
It is an occasional feature for GEV, and will become increasingly useful to us. Many land owners are in the quandary between their love for their land and the desire to get full market value for it. In our experience this always results in a quick sale to conventional developer and the loss of the land. GEV can offer these sellers a quick sale, but also the preservation of the majority of the land. This assurance can yield preferential pricing, and easy terms. As our record grows, we will have more such opportunities.

Preferential Regulatory Treatment
GEV seeks out locales where good, realistic sustainable development is sought after by local authorities. We can leverage this in two ways. By showing that our developments have less impact and are more efficient for the local tax base, we can get accelerated entitlements, larger investment by the local government in infrastructure needed for the project, and more development rights than zoning allows. Each of these provides a comparative advantage over conventional developments in the same area.

Untapped Market Niche
There is not an area within the US where the market for high-quality sustainable development has begun to be met. This is due in large part to reluctance to change in the real estate community. conventional development seeks in each case to repeat a product that has had previous success. Of course, lenders are notorious for being risk-adverse. This has left the strong demand for sustainable community almost wholly untapped.

Strategic Alliance with the leading planner os sustainable communities. GEV has entered a non-exclusive, non-competition agreement with Village Habitat Design, LLC of Atlanta, GA. Under the agreement, VHD will provide consulting services in multiple phases of our projects, including:

  • Site Selection
  • Entitlement Valuation
  • Regulatory Assessments
  • Project Strategy
  • Master Planning
  • Regulatory Approval Processes
  • Project Design
  • Project Director

VHD brings more than experience in sustainable community planning and design. They also bring credentials for producing only the highest level of sustainable community. This will not only greatly accelerate the recognition of GEV as the blue-ribbon brand, but will enhance our credibility with local authorities.

Nature, Community & Prosperity
Though sustainable community is still as rare as hen's teeth across the U.S., in just the past 5 years there has been a sea-change in acceptance of sustainable principles by local and regional authorities, lenders, professional planners, etc. In the past, sustainable principles were viewed with suspicion. Today they are now actively sought. A small, but significant example of how large the change has been can be found in "location efficient" mortgages that recognize that homeowners who do not have the expense of one or two cars can afford much larger mortgage debt, and so qualify for larger mortgages. Just five years ago there was zero acceptance by institutional lenders. Today it is a common feature of underwriting.

3-Legged Stool
There is a newly conventional image of sustainable development as a stool of 3 legs: the Environment, the Economy and Society. This raises the environment to a new status, to be included with money and society. It can certainly be argued that the environment is not a leg of the stool, but the floor upon which the stool stands. while we can all recognize the truth of that, what instructs us in the 3 legged analogy is an image by which we can see to balance ecology with economy and society.

Models, Examples, Cutting Edge, Bleeding Edge
There are some people who want to create projects that are so far in front of the leading edge, that they are on the bleeding edge. Bleeding edge communities have been designed and developed for years. In some instances they have served as models of what sustainable community can be. In most cases they have been unsustainable economically and socially. While these communities have sought to be recognized as models, they often have occurred more as cautionary tales. This has had the unintended and undesirable consequence of creating an informal brand: a brand characterized by privation, social confusion (usually in the from of faux-communalism), and mud. This "brand" has also been characterized by the need for infusions of cash.

Those experimental communities are not what GEV seeks to provide. GEV recognizes that far in advance of conventional development, far in advance of "green-wash" development, there is a large market waiting to be supplied with authentic, sustainable community, designed for livability [and not mere survivability]. We intend our developments to be models of sustainability. And we include economic sustainability as a requirement. In this way GEV will certainly be pushing the envelope.

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