City Council invests in land bank for Philly

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City Council has given its blessing to a land bank for Philadelphia.

The land bank is designed to consolidate city-owned properties for development. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez said she’s hopeful it will mean vacant land can be put back to use in as little as nine months instead of years.

“It means that the 35 percent of people who live in poverty in Philadelphia will have the opportunity to be homeowners and live in any part of the city they want,” she said Thursday.

Happy that Council approved the bill establishing the land bank, Constance Morrow of Germantown said she thinks it will be good for her neighborhood.

“It gives my neighborhood hope there will be more affordable housing opportunities, jobs, community facilities and a safe clean garden space,” Morrow said. “We will brighten and uplift the community.”

The city will see positive results from the land bank within five year, predicted Council President Darrell Clarke.

“Not only will this provide significant opportunity for residences but also commercial development,” he said. “And at the end of the day, we could see upwards of $100 million in new revenue just from real estate revenue (taxes) alone.

“And that will allow us to reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses in the city of Philadelphia,” he said.

However, Clarke said, setting up the mechanism for packaging up land could take up to a year since now various arms of city government have their own methods for dealing with empty properties.

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