Philly brokers deal to create land bank of vacant properties


A deal has been cut so Philadelphia can create a “land bank” to put vacant properties to good use.

A land bank is designed to consolidate all the city’s vacant properties and package them for large-scale development.

The bill was championed by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez who says although a compromise, the legislation is historic.

“The compromise was one that allows us to look at the timeline and the role people play at what point so that we can get it out the door faster,” she said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

By “out the door,” Quinones-Sanchez means sell off vacant properties. Now that takes years. Under the proposal to make sure all arms of city government deal with properties the same way, it could take months. The bank could also acquire occupied lots to create a bigger parcel, that’s more attractive to developers.

Rick Sauer of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations is happy.

“Instead of dealing with multiple different public agencies that currently have their own inventory of properties and their own set of rules and time frames, you will be able to go to one place for all city owned property.”

Council President Darrell Clarke says he and his colleagues will not slow down the land bank unnecessarily.

“We’re not in the micromanagement business, we’re into the legislative process,” Clarke said. “A transparent legislative process which we will insure as it relates to the operation of the land bank.”

The bill, which just got amended to reflect the compromise, is expected to be approved next week.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal