Richard calls for a separate tax classification for industrial land because its too easy to change when the demand is high for other uses. It's interesting because I've been thinking a lot about the near downtown industrial districts ripe for redevelopment with streetcars and light rail. While industrial land is usually easiest for redevelopment, it can also be tricky when some or all of that land is viable for industrial uses. Areas like the Pearl in Portland, South Lake Union in Seattle, Channelside in Tampa, and the South End in Charlotte were once industrial districts that have since been redeveloped because of increased transit accessibility and proximity to downtown.
However other areas such as parts of West Oakland have been deemed off limits to developers even when the proximity to downtown is just enough that a streetcar or light rail line would explode the potential in the area. This is because the industrial land is still viable as such and city council saw value in keeping the jobs and land available in the area. I can't say that I disagree with this assessment but what is the point where industrial properties anywhere are too valuable to tax base?
For the most part, many of the easy pickings in downtowns around America have been taken back in the form of downtown adjacent former brick industrial buildings that have formed a base for a loft district fairly close to downtowns. But there are still spots waiting for a rail line that have good bones and would be great spots for the new streetcar suburbs. Is there an area in your cities that have dwindling industrial uses and is within a two mile radius of downtown?