Battling blight & vacant properties: Philadelphia’s unwelcome real estate legacy
November 15, 2010
Philadelphiaâ€™s vast tracts of vacant land and abandoned buildings â€“ about 40,000 properties by one count â€“ are costing the city, and taxpayers, a fortune. A new study (pdf) by Econsult and two partners found that the blighted properties were depressing the cityâ€™s property values by billions of dollars, while directly costing city agencies $20 million a year. Weâ€™ll talk to Econsultâ€™s RICHARD VOITH, lead author of the report done on behalf of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corps. Weâ€™ll also talk to JOHN KROMER of the University of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s Fels Institute of Government, who recently prepared a report (pdf) updating the status of vacant properties in Eastern North Philly that he first inventoried as the cityâ€™s Office of Housing and Community Development in 1998. Those properties redeveloped by the AsociaciÃ³n de PuertorriqueÃ±os en Marcha represent a rare success story.