Identification of Potential Obstacles and Resolving Information Gaps

(PREPARED Municipal Workbook)

The reward for due diligence is confident conclusions about project feasibility.

Now that information has been gathered about the property (or properties) to be redeveloped, utilize the worksheet information to evaluate the potential obstacles of the reuse plans. This critical troubleshooting process can be guided by asking some key questions:

  • What can go wrong? It is important to identify each obstacle that may impact the successful implementation of each potential reuse. These reuse obstacles can include those associated with the environmental conditions, as well as those commonly identified through traditional real estate due diligence (e.g., title encumbrances, easements, inadequate infrastructure). Common reuse obstacles are described in Figure 5.1 of the PREPARED Workbook.

  • strong>What risks are associated with each obstacle? As specific obstacles are identified, the logical question is: “How difficult will it be to overcome this problem?” The risks associated with each obstacle may be minor, moderate, or major; now is the time to identify and assess them.
  • What information is still missing? At this stage in the evaluation process, it is common for project participants to discover “data gaps” - information that did not come to light during initial information-gathering work. Once a data gap has been identified, it can be effectively “plugged” when someone chases down the required information. As additional information is made available, obstacles and risks should be revised accordingly.

Worksheet #5 provides a template for identifying and documenting potential obstacles, related risks and data gaps for each potential reuse and property recovery action. 



Identifying legal liability, financial risk, and community issues

  • Legal Liability. In many cases, legal liability and environmental liability are synonymous. However, there are other legal liabilities that may be associated with a property (e.g., easements, third party claims, liens). See Section 6.2 of the PREPARED Workbook for a summary discussion of environmental liability. More detail on environmental liability is provided in Chapter 7 and Appendix D of the PREPARED Workbook. 

  • Financial Liability. Financial liabilities are the costs related to developing and maintaining the property (e.g., funding for the reuse or the cleanup, operation and maintenance of engineering or institutional controls). Legal liability can also be translated to financial liability. See Section 6.3 of the PREPARED Workbook for a summary discussion of financial risk. More detail on financial risk is provided in Chapter 8 of the PREPARED Workbook. 

  • Community Issues. Community issues are expressed by neighborhood or local groups regarding the condition of the property or the impact of the reuse. See Section 6.4 of the PREPARED Workbook for a summary discussion of community issues. More detail on community is provided in Chapter 9 of the PREPARED Workbook.

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Content Last Updated May 12, 2017