The Philadelphia Association of Community Development has reportedly joined dozens of community groups, builders, realtors, and environmental and anti-blight organizations to form the Philly Land Bank Alliance and launch a website. The purpose of the collaboration is to form a land bank to deal with the approximately 40,000 vacant or abandoned properties around Philadelphia.
The land bank would serve as a centralized entity that would handle the maintenance, sale and redevelopment of properties currently owned and managed by city agencies and private parties. Because each of them has their own processes and expectations, it can be confusing for developers to get projects going smoothly. The land bank would make is so that developers would only have to deal with one strategic authority.
At present, it sometimes takes years to acquire land for redevelopment and to buy three or four properties next to each other a developer often has to deal with three or four entities. The land bank would speed up the time period for land development and make it less confusing by having only one entity interface with developers.
Vacant properties, of course, tend to drag down property values, and they cost money to maintain. Properties values, some experts say, can affect more than just adjacent home values. Homes within 150 of an abandoned home lose an estimated $7,600 in value.
Proponents say ridding neighborhoods of blight will not only increase property values but reduce crime, as well as create construction and commercial jobs.
Source: philly.com, “Banking on a Land Bank to Transform Philly,” Dan Stamm, April 1, 2013