A Philadelphia land bank – Why we need to get it right [DAGspace]

By John Kromer

There’s money to be made in Philadelphia’s vacant buildings and lots. As the city’s real estate market continues its slow recovery, more investors and developers are going to be attracted to vacant property in Philadelphia, for two reasons:

  • After decades of depopulation, more people—more housing consumers—are moving into the city;
  • And after decades of metropolitan-area sprawl, less real estate is available for development outside the city. Some suburban areas have nothing left to develop.

That’s why, even in the midst of the recession, vacant houses were being rehabilitated and vacant lots were being infilled with new residential construction in Southwest Center City, Lower North Philadelphia,  Kensington, and Fishtown. As the recession fades, we’ll see more opportunities to transform former nuisance properties into valued assets. But without an asset-management strategy to guide vacant property transactions, the prospects for future success will be jeopardized.

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