Thursday, October 19, 2006

Redford: "To save this land, I had to develop this land"

Speaking of the Grim Reaper, Robert Redford was in town yesterday to speak to 6000 "real estate professionals" about responsible development:

After watching the character of his native Los Angeles slide off into a sea of concrete after World War II, actor Robert Redford understands the importance of land-use planning.

"The landscape I grew up with disappeared," said Redford, the keynote speaker at the Urban Land Institute's fall meeting Wednesday. "Whenever greed plays a great role and development gets ahead of planning, sometimes you end up with L.A." . . .

A conservationist and environmentalist, Redford built the Sundance Village in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah with the goal of avoiding the same trap as Los Angeles.

"I had strong feelings about how things might look, so I bought land from a sheepherder," he said. "It was self-indulgent because I wanted to buy a piece of land to preserve it, but then was faced with the reality of paying for it."

Redford's preservation mindset made it impossible to find a financial partner, so he developed the property himself, taking a slow and thoughtful approach.

So Redford bought the land to preserve it, then developed it. Hey, Bobby (his friends call him Bobby), ever heard of the Nature Conservancy? They also buy endangered land, but unlike you (here comes the tricky part) once they own it they pretty much leave it alone.

Useless article, all in all, but at least I learned a new term of developer-ese: "grayfield." That's a "parking lot" to you, scumbags.

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