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104 articles

Outside the Outer Banks of North Carolina: can OBX energy spread to the Inner Banks?

The letters “OBX” adorn many a back bumper, at least among vehicles in the eastern half of the country, particularly concentrated among the states along the Eastern Seaboard.  (And typically cares at the level of Volvos and Subarus…or pricier.)  It’s safe for me to wager that most people in these eastern states—loosely equating to the

Closed bank building, but with a twist: can it thrive with robo-tellers?

I promise—cross my heart and hope to die—that I didn’t plan this blog article in light of recent events.  A single closed bank branch is hardly cause for alarm, especially compared to what’s been happening to the entire operations of some fairly large banks these last few weeks.  And we may still be fully in

Upper floors in old buildings: why are they so hard to put to use?

City planners, chambers of commerce, commercial real estate brokers, and Business Improvement District (BID) managers should have no difficulty finding common ground on a number of subjects.  Generally speaking, they don’t run out of things to talk about.  And while they might cavil about the finer points of what is more important in attracting investment

Most controversial blog posts: a truculent top five (plus one).

With another year coming to a close, and ushering in what will be the start of my fifteenth year at this blogging venture, I decided to attempt something that is mostly good for a laugh: a ranking list.  A listicle, if you will.  Since this is a blog whose most loyal followers are relatively few

Gas stations that lack that certain human touch, yet still strike gold.

I am by no stretch anywhere near the most well-traveled person in this fine country—that’s a singular achievement, and I’m many tens of millions of ranks below that elusive, eternally unknown #1.  But I’m not badly traveled: in 2021 I finally made it to Alaska, my 50th state (a pretty clichéd 50th state if you

Corner commercial lots: are they worth more? You can bank on it.

As recently as my last blog article, I alluded to an unusual dichotomy in the value of corner parcels: for the most part, residences on street corners are less valuable than homes on the rest of the block.  People don’t the reduced privacy one expects when a property fronts two streets, when they can easily

Georgetown Circle: cutting the corners out from the old courthouse square.

Where I grew up in the Midwest, most county seats enjoy an almost overbearingly consistent urban form at their historic core.  With few exceptions, they feature the archetypal courthouse square.  The four blocks fronting this courthouse—the four sides of the square—serve as the commercial core, with a variety of different sizes of 19th century buildings:

Area of Refuge in upstate New York: more than just shelter from a six-month snow season.

I generally try to avoid two consecutive posts in the same state, but I can’t help myself this time around.  And frankly, the location—the geography, the jurisdiction—isn’t really all that significant.  Though these images come from upstate New York (as the title indicates), the issues that they raise could just as easily be anywhere in

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