Alternative Development: Defining a Space
Projects where the business model and the development are closely aligned; so close in fact that one one would not exist without the other.

Alternative Development: Defining a Space

A New Brand of Development is Taking Hold

Defining a Space, Building and Creating an Experience: Alternative Developments

Outdoor adventurers look to be exposed to new places that are unique and untracked, untrammeled and waiting for discovery. We are driven to discover new backcountry terrain and seek out-of-the-ordinary experiences. We seek new places but at the same time like when businesses are environmentally conscious as well.

Our favorite projects are where the business model and the development are closely aligned; so close in fact that one would not exist without the other. You may ask – where do we find these experiences? How do I start one?

Radify Development is the first dedicated community focused on “alternative developments.”

We wanted to define alternative development to enable you to better engage with our content and resources. There is a group of visionary developers (more than ever before) who are taking building projects and land development and turning them into one-of-a-kind experiences for those who seek the completely unique. It is a movement and new one at that.

At Radify, this is exactly the kind of projects and developments we are looking for.

Do you have an idea or project that may meet this criteria? As avid skiers/guides, outdoor lovers, or nature seekers, ideas always pop into our heads and we think that they cannot be pursued.

Going deeper, it’s apparent that the particular space, property, building, etc. of an alternative development is not just a location. It’s actually an integral part of the core product that the business is delivering.  In many cases the owner is operating a business through the alternative development project. Other owners may be operating on and developing public land through long-term ground leases. The situation varies, as all creative projects do. That’s another common thread with an alternative development – a very high degree of creativity has to exist to make the intersection of development and business model go forward.

Examples of alternative development projects include fly-in ski lodges, ski areas, beach-front resorts, surf camps, historical renovations, and eco-resorts. Ski areas, pre-conglomeration, are examples of experience-driven land developments. The concept, in that regard, is not new. What is new is the incredible creativity and tenacity of alternative developers to bring their ideas to reality, with new approaches to using space and forward-thinking business approaches.

Examples are Baldface Lodge and Opus Hut. Learn more about Baldface Lodge and how the alternative developer really pursued this project here. To learn more about Opus Hut, click here.

Although we didn’t have any involvement in Sun Valley Trekking, we thought we would add them in as an example here. They have formed the exact kind of development that we look to help make possible.

Again, all of these share the reality that the business doesn’t exist without specific non-repeatable locations. With an alternative development, you can’t just pick up and move the business to a new storefront down the street, or change where you log in or ship from. Tied to your space, you have a unique opportunity to showcase its appeal. Are you getting ideas yet?

Alternative developers are devoted to creative land acquisition and non-conformist building projects that exist to get people way out of their comfort zone and deep into new experiences in the natural landscape. Have you ever thought: “Wow this place could be a great place to have a restaurant, hotel or café devoted to then making the environment the center of congregation?”

Alternative developments are tied to a lifestyle, recreational activity, or experiential based product.

They also have the environment as an integral part of the product – not just a byproduct (as in the case of a farm or mine).  Alternative developments require that we work in concert with our environment. This is a very fine line; an alternative development’s experience incorporates the natural, surrounding environment in a way that enhances our capacity to increase access and exposure without undermining the foundation of what makes our product what it is.

Maintaining the cyclical relationship between business and the built environment is core to our success.

As our populations grow, more urbanization, densification and the decrease of recreational space will only continue to become a more pressing matter. We want to try and create businesses that conserve these amazing environments.

Creating access in a way that aligns these realities in a sustainable way is essential to ensure that opportunities and experiences will remain for future generations. This is the responsibility of the alternative developer. Ultimately, we want our kids and their kids to be able to enjoy the outdoors as much as we do.

Alternative developments have significant (critical) factors to consider that differ from many other types of developments and businesses.  Should you see yourself as an alternative developer, you must recognize that there may be gaping differences in how you plan your exit strategy, loan terms, legal entity setup, hold periods, capital stacks, and investors.

If you’ve traditionally thought of yourself as an operator there are many additional concerns to consider, including: risk management, loss control, insurance, legal entity setup, asset management, tax strategy, leverage, and scalability. Business’s are profiting from these developments.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about or how this applies to you, shoot me a message or just stay tuned. This is exactly what I’m here to help out with!

The description above is hardly exhaustive but it does draw the picture as to what this space is and why giving it some special consideration is worthwhile.

Please let me know what you think of this post and feel free to comment and provide your viewpoint in the comments section below.  You can also email me at: jariens@radifydevelopment.com

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