Headlines: City Snags Nearly $2 Million from Property Auction

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 11.14.37 AMWell, they didn’t sell all of the 157 blighted properties at the last week’s auction organized by Councilman Mark Squilla, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success. The Inquirer reports that the 89 properties, owned by the City of Philadelphia, the Redevelopment Authority and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, sold for a larger-than-expected sum of $1.78 million.

The auction, which attracted 93 bidders on Friday afternoon during a heatwave, saw a wide range of winning bids for properties from South Philly to Kensington, with properties going for as low as $1,750 and reaching up to $120,000, as was the case for one lot on Salmon Street in Port Richmond.

As the city still working out the kinks in the Land Bank process, is an auction organized by a City Council member, in this case Councilman Mark Squilla, the way to move city-owned land quickly and, gasp, efficiently? According to The Inquirer, it’s possible:”This program is signed, sealed, and delivered,” said Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell of West Philadelphia. “They did it right away. It’s a hands-on approach. It’s a great idea.”

To avoid land speculation, Councilman Squilla said that  stipulations were built into the terms of sale that requires the new owner to develop the land within a set amount of time.

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