Many historic land reclamation projects, most of them undertaken in the 19th and 20th centuries, have paid out big dividends today in some of the nation’s most expensive real estate markets.

Boston’s pricey Back Bay neighborhood was expanded in the 19th century with infill material from nearby Needham, Mass. Prices in Needham currently average around $400 per square foot, while homes in Back Bay average $1,384 per square foot, according to real estate firm NeighborhoodX. The early-1970s Battery Park City infill created similar results, with land prices averaging $1,431 per square foot versus $350 in Staten Island.

The San Francisco Financial District’s results are more mixed. Land prices average $1,183 in the district, while its infill locations, Richmond, Calif. and San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, average $388 and $1,448 respectively.

Today, coastal infill projects are essentially outlawed in the U.S. due to environmental concerns. However, the practice remains common in “top tier cities with booming economies” across the globe, according to Columbia University professor Vishaan Chakrabarti. This includes the principality of Monaco, one of the most expensive markets in the world at $4,457 a square foot, which is currently undertaking a $2.3 billion project to add 15 acres to its coastline.

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