So, if you have US$8.5 million worth of property, how could you use this to make more money?
2 of the places are currently just sitting empty and i'm living in the other.
Depends how much money you have and where you and the land are. I for one would sell or lease the land into smaller divisions. In other words, portion of your land into smaller sizes, then sell those pieces of land to people looking to build. I mentioned how much money you had because if the answer is a significant sum, I would seek to build trendy apartments (this is from an Australian perspective though and assuming that the property is anywhere near a city).
Generally though, real estate isn't the worst idea.