Philadelphia, Dec. 3, 2015 – City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District), Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) and Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez (7th District) on Thursday introduced resolutions authorizing transfer of 833 vacant, City-owned properties to the Philadelphia Land Bank, the largest municipal land bank in the nation.
Upon adoption by City Council, these properties will be conveyed to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for further conveyance to the Land Bank, which was authorized by the City of Philadelphia and incorporated by the Commonwealth in 2014. Once in the Land Bank’s inventory, the properties will be packaged and marketed for repurposing with no outstanding tax liability for the purchaser. The Land Bank also has the authority to acquire vacant properties as part of a strategic plan to put them back into productive use.
“I am very excited about this significant step in creating the largest Land Bank in the country and our ability to use this tool to transform blight in our neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Sanchez, prime sponsor of the legislation that authorized the Land Bank.
“I never doubted this day would come, and now that it has I couldn’t be more excited,” said Council President Clarke, also a sponsor of the Land Bank legislation. “I’d like to thank our partners at the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation for their hard work toward a new labor agreement reached in October, which freed all stakeholders to really move forward with a now fully functional Land Bank. With approximately 5,733 city-owned vacant properties held by different agencies and available for disposition, we finally have a streamlined process by which to assess and offer them to buyers to get them back on the tax rolls.”
Of the 833 properties in this initial round of Council conveyances, 48 are in the 2nd District, 48 are in the 5th District, 13 are in the 6th District, and 724 are in the 7th District. Transfer to the Land Bank is not necessarily an indication of market viability. However, singular ownership of all vacant public property is itself a significant reform that ensures streamlined, strategic land disposition in future years.
City Council, Administration, and Land Bank staff collaborate to identify parcels for transfer to the Land Bank, after which resolutions are prepared by the Land Bank and sent to the Administration for delivery to City Council.
Philadelphia Land Bank Interim Executive Director Nicholas J. Scafidi said: “We are pleased with Council’s action today. These resolutions are the result of months of work by the Land Bank, City Council, and the Nutter administration. Today is another step forward in turning vacant land into homes, businesses, community gardens and open space. We look forward to continuing this momentum as we work with the Kenney administration and Council members to use vacant properties to revitalize neighborhoods.”
“I look forward to working with the Land Bank to ensure that we use our vacant land to maximize affordability and green space in our communities,” Councilman Johnson added.
The transfer resolutions and parcel numbers are listed below: