Properties held by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the Department of Public Property and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. will soon be easier to purchase with a new website featuring a map which allows potential buyers to identify the location, price and other information of city-held properties. At present, 9,000 properties are listed on the website, which represents the majority of the city’s holdings.
Buyers will be able to use the website to make bids, though sales are handled by different departments. The new website goes on a “soft launch” this week, and will be fully launched in several weeks, when all information about the properties will be available on the site.
The goal of the website is to assist in the reduction of blight, a goal for which other efforts are being made. Among them are a new land disposition policy which establishes clear rules for selling land to developers, individuals and community groups. A comprehensive plan is still in the works though, which will have to deal with over 40,000 abandoned properties in the metropolitan area. Roughly one-quarter of those abandoned properties belong to the city.
Also in the works are is proposed legislation that would give the city power to create a land bank to consolidate all publicly held vacant land and establish consistent policies for purchase and sale of such properties. Such a thing has already been introduced at the local level, but has yet to go statewide.
Developers are sure to find the website and ongoing efforts toward redevelopment helpful.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Philadelphia makes buying abandoned property easier,” Catherine Lucey, May 22, 2012