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Blight bleeds Philadelphia property values of average $8,000

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

A study prepared for the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority says blight is driving down property values $8,000 on average.

The city of Philadelphia spends about $20 million a year just to maintain blighted properties even though it owns only a fraction of them, according to Mayor Michael Nutter.

“Maybe 70 percent of these properties are not city-owned. Sometimes citizens make the automatic assumption,” he said. “You see a vacant lot, you see a derelict building, it might have an L and I sign or it or something — most of the time we actually don’t own that building.”

John Kromer, a former director of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development, said things have changed in the last 20 years.

“The city has come a long way since the 1990s when the official position, and this was true of many cities, was vacant properties were not our problem, we don’t own most of them and we don’t have the money to fix them all up,” said Kromer.

The city is working to consolidate properties to make it easier for buyers to find them. Philadelphia is owed $70 million in back taxes due on blighted properties.

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