What are "greyfields"?

The terms "greyfields" and "grayfields" are used interchangeably by builders, planners and economic development professionals to describe properties that have been developed, and have infrastructure in place, but whose use is outdated or blocks access to the best approach for the real estate.

Unlike "brownfields", greyfields typically have little or no environmental contamination. Unlike "greenfields", greyfields have already gone through at least one development cycle. To the casual observer, physical greyfield sites may appear run down, outclassed or abandoned. Even to the professionally trained eye, the potential value in greyfields may be overlooked.

While the term was originally applied to failing regional malls or other blighted retail properties that required development intervention to stem their decline, the label is now often used to describe undervalued or underutilized real estate assets that hold the potential, through strategic redevelopment, to be transformed into prime investments.

In a broader sense, the term "greyfield" may also be applied to describe inefficient operational, financial or economic structures affecting corporate real estate entities themselves. Such instances may be considered "virtual" greyfields in which the key to unlocking value relies more on expertise in management and/or financial restructuring than in recognizing any intrinsic value embedded within the currently existing real estate assets.

For more information on Greyfields' investment approach and/or for general information on the history of greyfields and the potential for their successful redevelopment, please browse our Greyfields News section.