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Land Development During COVID-19: Maximizing Dollars During Due Diligence

Knowing when, where, and how to expand or move your organization’s operations has become more complicated and financially risky due to COVID-19. But also very timely, as organizations are not only navigating a new work-from-home model, but also finding ways to offer a better quality of life for employee recruitment and retention.

The competitive history for prime office space in major urban areas could decrease in the near future. Studies suggest that early this April, 62% of employed Americans worked at home during the pandemic (1). Plus, 39% of 2,050 U.S. adults surveyed said that COVID-19 has made them consider moving to a less populated, rural area (2). This may foreshadow a paradigm shift that would have a major impact on commercial land development. The combination of using effective technologies and offering a better quality of life for employees may lead companies to relocate offices away from crowded urban areas for places that are closer to residential areas, which can reduce commuting, allow for collaborating more in small groups, and facilitate a balanced schedule of working from home and the office. 

To navigate these new trends more efficiently and cost effectively, Horrocks Engineers offers our unique site modeling and optimization services to commercial clients, allowing a quick and cost-effective assessment of various site configurations and associated costs.

Well before soliciting lenders for a project, developers and owners must put up their own capital to determine the best location during the due diligence phase of a land development project, which can be financially risky. While in a due diligence period, clients are striving to determine the feasibility of a project and whether their financial pro forma goals are met. And often during this period, there is a balance of trying to minimize expenditures but still gathering enough information to make informed decisions on moving a project forward. Obstacles and costs can delay or completely kill a project. 

Recognizing our clients’ needs for quick and accurate information during due diligence with minimal expense, Horrocks has developed a site modeling and optimization process that provides rapid evaluation of site configurations with grading (cut and fill) optimization and construction cost analysis of grading, hard surfaces, and site utilities. Our process has proven very beneficial to our clients by providing significant information during due diligence and minimizing up-front costs.

Horrocks’ site modeling and optimization process provides multiple site configurations with construction cost estimates in a simple, collaborative afternoon workshop. This accuracy leads to less cost and time in the planning, development, and construction phases. Pro formas can also be checked to ensure revenue estimates are achievable for the project. 

For more information on how Horrocks can efficiently lead your organization through the land development process, contact Clint Boyle, Horrocks’ Land Development Division Director: Clint Boyle, AICP, Sr. Principal | office 208-522-1223


1 Megan Brenan, “U.S. Workers Discovering Affinity for Remote Work,” Gallup, April 3, 2020,

2 Kim Hart, “Coronavirus may Prompt Migration out of American Cities,” The Harris Poll, April 30, 2020,


Contributing Authors:

Clint Boyle, AICP

Land Development Director, Sr. Principal

Clint is a senior land use planner and project manager with more than 26 years of experience. His recent efforts included the City of Mountain Home, ID Downtown Master Plan which won the Idaho Planning Association Most Outstanding Plan (2019) Award. Clint has been with Horrocks for nearly ten years and oversees our Land Development division.


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