The Loveland Blog

October Letter from Loveland’s CEO: Happy Weddings, Vacancy Data, and The Oklahoma Land Rush

By Sahana Murthy on October 10, 2019 · Announcements

Letter from the CEO of Loveland Technologies &

Picking up from my last note about the upcoming wedding, I have happy news to report…

We did it and it was great!

While the building of our marriage is now fully occupied, the theme of the month at Loveland HQ is nationwide vacant property data.

Write to us at if you're interested in data on vacant properties in your community or nationwide. And thank you to everyone who has already taken us up on our October data discount. 


Last week I presented at the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference in Atlanta. I was on a panel with two groups whom we have the pleasure of working with on property surveys and data wrangling: The Hartford Land Bank in Connecticut, and New Jersey Community Capital.

Reclaiming Vacant Properties is a meaningful conference for me. It makes me meditate on our journey of assembling nationwide parcel data, which started in part by getting really good at counting vacant buildings in Detroit. I remember driving overnight from Detroit to Philadelphia for the conference back in 2013. I didn’t have a hotel room so I reclined in the driver’s seat and slept in the parking lot for a few hours before going in. 

For years I’ve listened to people argue over the best way to determine whether or not a property is vacant, and I feel comfortable confirming that the nationwide USPS vacancy data we now provide is THE BEST out-of-the-box dataset for determining both the scale of vacancy in a community and whether or not a particular building is likely vacant. 

If you want to use this data, reach out to us at and we'll set you up with the best method depending on your needs and use-case.


Lastly, I have a book recommendation. While skimming the airport bookshelves in Chicago, my eyes fell upon a book called Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis. The disarming thesis of the book is that Oklahoma City is among the most interesting cities in the country, if not the world. I was in the mood to be convinced of this, and wasn’t disappointed. The book covers much more than the land rush, but as land grid mappers who have seen a lot of strange things, the story of the Oklahoma Land Rush is just too much to actually fathom. At noon on April 22, 1889, people just started running to the land they wanted to own, overlapping and leaving no room for streets — a problem that needed to be solved in the complete absence of government. Of course there were conniving people who had already tried to rig things. Two competing companies pre-planned a layout for downtown Oklahoma City, hiding in the high grass before the rush and essentially just standing up and getting to work at noon. Or something like that. They refused to compromise, and some of the otherwise straight streets of Oklahoma City had strange jogs to connect these incompatible plans.

(Of course I went to try to find them on our Oklahoma City map, but it looks like they’ve mostly since been corrected. I did however learn that Oklahoma City Southwest has 6,331 vacant buildings according to the USPS data, so, you know, score.)

If you’re into American history, the development of cities, and/or looking for new and exciting ways to put your family to sleep this Thanksgiving, I recommend Boom Town. It really is interesting and well written, and it opens up into a beautiful mediation on this strange world we all live in, and the contradictions and coincidences and crazy characters that coalesce into civilization.

Jerry Paffendorf

CEO, LOVELAND Technologies

407 E Fort St, Suite 100
Detroit, MI 48226