Philadelphia Land Bank holds its first meeting

It took more than ten years of conversations for Philadelphia to form a land bank, but the first public meeting of the agency’s board was over in about ten minutes.

On Thursday, the interim board met to elect officers and to adopt bylaws and a first-year budget. After a unanimous vote, the following board members were elected:

  • Michael Koonce, chair. Koonce is an executive vice president at the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation.

  • Paul Badger, vice-chair. Badger is a representative of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors.

  • Rick Sauer, secretary. Sauer is the director of Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations.

  • Jennifer Kates, treasurer. Kates is a lawyer in the office of Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez, who sponsored the bill that created the land bank.

The land bank’s budget for fiscal year 2015 is around $4.1 million, with $3.6 million coming from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and $500,000 coming from the city’s general fund. The budget is broken down in more detail here.

The land bank is intended to be a central clearinghouse for vacant and tax-delinquent property. When it is fully operational, it will be able to acquire properties as well as dispose of vacant land owned by teh city.

The interim board issued a Request For Proposals for a strategic plan for the land bank in the spring and selected a team led by Interface Studio. The land bank plans to present a preliminary plan in October and solicit public feedback at that time. It will present a final plan for approval by City Council in November.

The board’s next meeting will take place on Thursday, August 14th, at 2:30 p.m. on the 17th floor of 1234 Market.

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