Surrounding properties are often a good barometer, but you need to talk with the building department. And keep in mind that no matter how friendly or positive they are about development potentials, the only way to know for sure is once permits have been granted, so be very careful as that isn't going to happen till after you own the property. Since building in the city is so expensive, time consuming, and annoying, you should look at houses that are big enough as they are.
I have a lot of experience with the building department having done many of my own remodels and would be happy to discuss - we just finished a year long gut job on our current house.
Lance R. King
King Realty Group
License # 01384425