Morning Headlines: Could the Land Bank Plan Be Better?

Photo credit: Julia Rowe via Flickr

Photo credit: Julia Rowe via Flickr

We’ve been waiting for it since the beginning of the year, but now that the city’s new Land Bank is expected to launch in 2015, some worry the blueprints for the plan need improvement.

The Daily News’ Valerie Russ reports that advocates of affordable housing are less than impressed with the Philadelphia Land Bank’s draft strategic plan and see it as being “too general.” Said Nora Lichtash of the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities:

“We want to make sure that when they transfer land to get rid of blight, that they’re doing it in a way to ensure that not only market-rate development takes place, but there’s also affordable development that comes back out of the land bank.”

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“Funeral” Planned for Melon Street Home

3711 Melon Street Funeral for a Home.

3711 Melon Street.
Photo credit: Funeral for a Home.

Blight causes more than the figurative death of each building it touches: there’s loss of community history as well. Funeral for a Home honors that loss with a  “funeral service” held in the memory of former Philadelphia homes and the lives they once housed. (Pictured above is the next home to be commemorated in May.)

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Pennsylvania Is Among the Top 10 States with Most Zombie Properties

Photo credit (vacant building): pwbaker via Flickr. Photo credit (zombie): Nathan Rupert via Flickr.

Photo credit (vacant building): pwbaker via Flickr.
Photo credit (zombie): Nathan Rupert via Flickr.

Zombies may be among us, but not the way Walking Dead fans might think. RealtyTrac recently released the February edition of its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which showed foreclosure filings going down significantly, but zombie foreclosures still making up 21% of them.

So what exactly is a zombie property?

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Morning Headlines: Philadelphia’s War Against Blight Continues

Two days into 2014 we wondered if plans to relieve Philadelphia of abandoned properties would yield significant changes. Now, only a month later, it appears we’re getting an answer: Efforts to alleviate blight plaguing the city are already showing results.

Newsworks reports that according to Liz Hersh, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, home sale prices have increased by about 31%, thus relieving nearby properties from suffering the consequences of living near deteriorating buildings.

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Morning Headlines: Land Bank to Start at the End of this Year

Buildings in Mantua, the West Philadelphia neighborhood with close to 15% in vacant properties.
Photo credit: Ian Freimuth via Flickr

At long last the much anticipated and nationally acknowledged Land Bank has become official. Yesterday, Mayor Nutter signed the bill that permits the formation of a division in charge of taking over Philadelphia’s tax-delinquent and vacant properties, and selling them to buyers.

Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez estimates that the bank, which will be a branch of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp., will require somewhere between $3 million and $5 million to get going. With more than 11,000 properties throughout the city, is that really surprising?

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