A Brief Guide to Choosing the Right Land Development Partner

A Brief Guide to Choosing the Right Land Development Partner

July 2, 2024

You have a vision for a new development. Maybe a vibrant neighborhood with tree-lined streets, a modern mixed-use complex, or a community focused on green living? Turning that dream into reality is about more than just having a good plan. You need the right team on your side. With so many options, choosing that team can feel a little overwhelming, at best.

How do you differentiate one developer from another? As is the case with anything of weighty importance, the answer is in the details. Here’s what to look for in a land development partner, so your project gets off to a strong start and heads straight for success:

1. Deep Experience

Land development is complex, with a massive web of regulations, permits, construction phases, and potential pitfalls. You need a partner who not only understands all of this but knows how to navigate it smoothly. Look for a company with a proven track record and experience in projects like yours. Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics: Have they worked with similar zoning situations? How do they handle environmental assessments? The right team goes beyond simply knowing technical terms—they’ll be able to explain things in a way that makes sense to you.

2. Local Knowledge

Each place has its own rules, from what you can build and where, to how to protect the environment and work effectively with local authorities. Your partner needs to understand your specific area—the zoning laws, the community’s priorities, even the unofficial quirks of getting things approved. A partner with deep local roots saves you from frustrating surprises that can derail your timeline and budget. Choosing someone who “gets” the area makes the difference between fighting against the tide and having the current work in your favor.

3. National Network

Local know-how is essential, but a limited perspective can hold you back. Ask if your potential partner works with experts across the country. Development is a dynamic industry—a wider network means your team is tapped into the latest design trends, innovative construction techniques, and strategies proven successful in other markets. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can learn from what’s working elsewhere, adapting those ideas to give your project an edge.

4. Teamwork and Communication

Construction management can be unpredictable, even with the best plan! This is when you need a partner who keeps you in the loop with clear and frequent communication. Ask how they share progress updates, handle questions, and address concerns. Do they involve you in decision-making and offer options, or do things feel dictated from on high? The best partners treat you like a member of the team because open collaboration is how problems get solved and great ideas get better.

5. Problem Solving

No development project goes perfectly according to plan—it’s just the nature of the industry! Don’t settle for a partner who blames delays on outside forces or gets stuck in a rut. Look for a company that thrives on finding creative solutions, rather than making excuses. Ask them about specific challenges they’ve faced on past projects and how they handled them. You want someone who doesn’t crumble under pressure. You want a partner who sees challenges as opportunities to prove their expertise and value.

6. Core Values

Beyond the practical skills and experience, consider if your ideal partner’s company culture aligns with your own values. Do they prioritize community engagement? Do they have a reputation for transparency and ethical practices? Working with a company you genuinely respect and admire makes the whole process smoother and even more enjoyable. Choose a partner whose success you’ll feel good about supporting.

Ready for a Winning Development Team? LJA Delivers.

Choosing the right land development partner is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your project. At LJA, we check all the boxes. We bring deep expertise, unmatched local knowledge, and a powerful national network to the table. Our commitment to sustainable practices, open communication, and finding solutions sets us apart. But most importantly, we align with your values, building better futures for our communities.

Let’s turn your vision into
a thriving reality!
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