Urban Fold

Cities Creating Land Banks to Deal with Vacant Properties

Abandoned and foreclosed properties are plaguing many cities. Now some are trying to turn the blight into prosperity by creating land banks to hold, remodel or demolish the properties -- and pull in some revenue while they're at it.

By reselling those properties that are in good shape, cities can reinvest those revenues to remodel other properties and get them back on the market.

"Instead of selling abandoned or foreclosed structures at auction, the city or county creates a land bank of properties. Some homes are fixed up and sold. The worst of the homes are demolished, and the land is then sold to nearby homeowners or developers, explains Genesee County (Mich.) Treasurer Dan Kildee, who started that county's land bank.

Municipalities operating land banks include Flint; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan.; and Richmond, Calif. The money generated from sales and the collection of delinquent taxes allows the land banks to pay for rehabilitation or demolition."

Full Story: Land banks gain popularity as way to fight urban blight

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