Ward Davis, developer of Ruskin Heights, a TND in Fayetteville, Arkansas, explains why many developers have not rushed to do New Urbanism — despite its profitability and market advantages. “TNDs are more profitable, but they take a whole lot more effort,” Davis told new urbanists in Austin, Texas. “While you can make more money per project with a TND, the developer can do several conventional projects with the same effort as one TND. So there is less profit for the equivalent effort. Most of the big developers like TND when they see the profits, but shy away when they realize how much of their time and effort it takes.”
Davis adds that TNDs require more upfront money, especially for design and engineering. “Upfront dollars are not immediately financeable,” he says. Add to that the risk of not getting the project approved — often greater with a TND — and the result is reluctance on the part of many developers to take on New Urbanism.