Land bank officially established in Philadelphia

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    With a stroke of the pen from Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia officially now has a land bank. But would-be developers will have to wait a bit to buy up vacant land from it.

    The land bank is designed as a centralized place where people can shop for city-owned vacant properties, no matter which arm of government owns a parcel.

    Private developers and nonprofits seeking to rebuild neighborhoods will have an easier time putting vacant land back in use, said Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez.

    “We still have a lot of work to do. How we put this board together, how we set policy,” she said Monday. “Policy that will impact affordability and accessibility for all is important.”

    The bank will help revitalize the city, said Anne Fadullon of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.

    “With the establishment of this land bank, Philadelphia is taking a huge step forward in taking blighted vacant properties from being a burden on this city to becoming an economic opportunity,” she said. “Not only for the developers, but for neighborhoods and residents as well.”

    Nutter, who said he is committed to the land bank, said it could be fully operational by the end of the year.

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