Land Bank News Stories

August 2017

City of Philadelphia Announces New Executive Director for Philadelphia Land Bank” Press Release, August 22, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – Today the Land Bank appointed Angel Rodriguez the Executive Director of the Land Bank.

As Executive Director, Mr. Rodriguez will oversee the strategic redevelopment of Philadelphia’s publicly owned surplus vacant property.  This includes facilitating programs and processes that increase affordable housing, economic development, reduction of blight, and community gardens.

Mr. Rodriguez currently serves as the Vice President of Community Economic Development for Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM). His responsibilities include managing APM’s housing development in Eastern North Philadelphia, community outreach efforts, Financial Opportunity Center (FOC), and the Sustainable Communities Initiative. He currently is on the Housing Advisory Board of Philadelphia and the board of the Food Trust. Mr. Rodriguez sat on the Land Bank Board prior to his appointment.

“Angel has extensive experience turning vacant land into productive uses,” said Anne Fadullon, Director of Planning and Development for the City of Philadelphia. “His background in economic development, affordable housing, and community outreach will be invaluable to the Land Bank.”

“I am excited to have found a new way to make a difference for people and communities in Philadelphia,” said Mr. Rodriguez.  “I look forward to working with the dedicated professionals working to repurpose land and transform neighborhoods across Philadelphia.”

Mr. Rodriguez starts as Executive Director on September 11, 2017.

Three new board members have also been appointed to the board by Mayor Kenney. They are Dominique Casimir, Deputy Director for Real Estate in the Department of Public Property; Christian Dunbar, Deputy City Treasurer; and Lauren Vidas of the South of South Neighborhood Association.

“Dominique, Christian and Lauren bring experience in property disposition, finance and neighborhood issues to the board,” said Anne Fadullon. “Their expertise will be invaluable as the Land Bank continues to ramp up its activity.”

The new board members will replace Fred Purnell, Anjali Chainani and Anna Shipp. Mr. Rodriguez will resign his board position prior to the September board meeting. City Council will appoint a replacement.

March 2017

“Philadelphia City Council Approves 2017 Land Bank Strategic Plan” Press Release, March 9, 2017

PHILADELPHIA- The Philadelphia City Council approved the Philadelphia Land Bank’s 2017 Strategic Plan today. With the approval the Land Bank’s revised acquisition and disposition policies will take effect.

The Strategic Plan analyzes market conditions and resident needs and identifies opportunities where publicly owned land can support housing, green space and other reuses.  It can be found HERE.

“City Council, along with the advocacy community, were critical partners in developing the Strategic Plan,” said Anne Fadullon, director of the City’s Office of Planning and Development. “With Council’s support we look forward to implementing the Plan.”

The Strategic Plan includes a target for the acquisition of 1,650 privately owned tax delinquent parcels over the next five years. These parcels will in turn be conveyed to new owners for affordable and market-rate housing, business expansions, community gardens and side yards.

Over those same five years the Land Bank will seek to return nearly 2,000 properties to productive use. More than 1,200 of those properties are expected to become homes, with nearly 650 targeted to lower-income Philadelphians.

“This strategic plan articulates City Council’s goals to allow residents to acquire vacant properties that they have maintained for years,” said Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, who introduced and sponsored Council’s resolution to approve the plan.  “We will revitalize our neighborhoods by transforming these blighted spaces into productive use.”

“The Strategic Plan strikes an appropriate balance between economic development, affordable housing and green spaces,” said Council President Darrell Clarke, who cosponsored the resolution. “This year the Land Bank has already disposed of properties for these uses and approved sales worth more than $1 million. This Plan will continue that momentum.”

The approved acquisition policy outlines the criteria for the Land Bank to acquire vacant tax delinquent parcels for redevelopment, side yards, business expansion, affordable housing and other neighborhood uses. The disposition policy covers buyer eligibility, redevelopment expectations, pricing, sales processes and community garden criteria.

“A key goal of this Strategic Plan is transparency,” said Fadullon. “We want everyone to understand how the Land Bank operates, and we’re grateful to Council for their support in this effort.”

In addition to approving the Strategic Plan, Council today introduced legislation to reduce Land Bank operating costs, streamline Land Bank lease procedures and reduce costs for developers acquiring Land Bank property for affordable housing and homeowners acquiring low-cost side yards. The legislation is cosponsored by Councilwoman Sánchez and Council President Clarke.

January 2017

“Philadelphia Land Bank Board Approves 2017 Strategic Plan” Press Release, January 19, 2017

PHILADELPHIA- The Philadelphia Land Bank Board has approved the Land Bank’s 2017 Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan will now be submitted to City Council for its consideration.  The Strategic Plan analyzes market conditions and resident needs and identifies opportunities where publicly owned land can support housing, green space and other reuses, and can be found HERE.

“The 2017 Strategic Plan provides goals for the Land Bank and guidance to those who will do business with it,” said Anne Fadullon, director of the City’s Office of Planning and Development. “Our goals include targets for the acquisition and disposition of properties.”

The Strategic Plan includes a target for the acquisition of 1,650 privately owned tax delinquent parcels over the next five years. These parcels will in turn be conveyed to new owners for affordable and market-rate housing, business expansions, community gardens and side yards. At the Jan. 19 meeting, the Land Bank Board approved the Strategic Plan and approved the first sale of a property acquired via Sheriff’s sale for a business expansion.

Over the next five years, the Land Bank will seek to return nearly 2,000 properties to productive use. More than 1,200 of those properties are expected to become homes, with nearly 650 targeted to lower-income Philadelphians.

“We heard from the public about the need for affordable, accessible housing and we listened,” said Tania Nikolic, interim executive director of the Land Bank. “After recieving public input, we doubled our goal of properties targeted for the lowest income families.”

The Strategic Plan also includes other elements to support property reuse. The Land Bank’s new acquisition policy specifies when properties can be acquired, and the disposition policy enables long-term or permanent property use for community gardens.

“The acquisition and disposition policies support the goals set out in the plan,” said Nikolic. “The policies provide clarity on the reuse of parcels so that people looking to acquire properties know what they can and can’t do.”

Under the Land Bank ordinance the Strategic Plan is submitted to City Council for its consideration. The Land Bank’s existing Strategic Plan will remain in place until Council approves the new Plan.

December 2016

Philadelphia Land Bank Issues Strategic Plan 12-22-16” Press Release, December 22, 2016
The Philadelphia Land Bank has issued its 2016 Draft Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan analyzes market conditions and resident needs and identifies opportunities where publicly owned land can support housing, green space and other reuses.  The Strategic Plan can be found at http://wp.philadelphialandbank.orgabout/strategic-plan/.

June 2016

Philadelphia Land Bank Issues Workforce Housing RFP Press Release, June 1, 2016
The Philadelphia Land Bank today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop workforce housing on eight vacant properties in Francisville. The first of several workforce housing RFPs to be issued this year, the goal is to preserve affordable housing options in a rapidly appreciating neighborhood.

December 2015

“Mayor Nutter Transfers First Properties to Philadelphia Land Bank.” Press Release, December 9, 2015
Mayor Michael A. Nutter electronically transferred the deeds for 150 properties into the Philadelphia Land Bank’s inventory from the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), the first of approximately 650 PHDC properties that will be transferred to the Philadelphia Land Bank by the end of the year. In total, the Land Bank will receive 225 properties from PHDC this week.

September 2015

“This City Turns Brown Into Green, Just as the Pope Wishes.” National Geographic Magazine, September 25, 2015
“Pope Francis has written eloquently about the human need for green space: ‘We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass, and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.’ He chided cities for providing ‘beautiful and carefully manicured green spaces in so-called safer areas of cities, but not in the more hidden areas where the disposable of society live.’ But when the pope visits Philadelphia this weekend, he will be touring a city that is striving to ensure that its green space extends to all 1.5 million of its citizens . . .”

January 2015

“Urban Farmers Look To Land Bank For Help Holding On To Property,” Hiddencity.org, January 30, 2015
“When lawyer Amy Laura Cahn joined the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia in 2011, she took over for her predecessor who was in the midst of combating poor air quality issues in the Hunting Park neighborhood.”

“Mayor Nutter appoints new Land Bank board members,” Philadelphia Tribune, January 29, 2015
Mayor Michael Nutter announced Jennifer L. Rodriguez and Christian S. Dunbar as the latest appointees to the board of the Philadelphia Land Bank, the city’s plan to ultimately return community control lots and other properties the city has seized due to tax delinquency.

“Two New Members Join Philadelphia Land Bank Board,” City of Philadelphia Press Release, January 26, 2015
Jennifer I. Rodríguez and Christian S. Dunbar joined the Philadelphia Land Bank Board for its January 26th Board Meeting.

“Planning Commission approves Land Bank plan,” Plan Philly, January 21, 2015
The City Planning Commission added its approval to the first strategic plan for the Philadelphia Land Bank on Tuesday.

“Land Bank Deposits,” Plan Philly, January 12, 2015
The Philadelphia Land Bank is our city’s best hope for combating the city’s pernicious blight and vacancy.

“Mayor makes appointment to land bank board,” Philadelphia Tribune, January 8, 2015
Mayor Michael Nutter has named five appointees to the Philadelphia Land Bank Board.

December 2014

“Do wishes come true? 2014 review,” Plan Philly, December 30, 2014
“This year the Philadelphia Land Bank edged closer toward full operations: the Land Bank Strategic Plan was developed and was adopted by City Council and a permanent board was appointed.”

“City Council Panel OKs ‘Strategic Plan’ for Philly Land Bank,” Philadelphia Daily News, Jenny DeHuff, December 2, 2014
“The proposed master plan for the Philadelphia Land Bank cleared a major hurdle yesterday when it gained the approval of City Council’s Public Property and Public Works Committee.”

Daily News Editorial: No Vacancy, December 2, 2014
City Council’s Public Property Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today on a resolution to officially establish a Philadelphia Land Bank.”

November 2014

“City’s vacant lots, properties may soon become history,” Philadelphia Tribune Editorial, November 2, 2014
“The Philadelphia Land Bank — tasked with transforming tax-delinquent and vacant lots and properties into viable community spaces and for–development tracts — is awaiting final act on legislation that would give the group full authority to continue its work and officially launch in 2015.”

October 2014

“Philadelphia Land Bank Board Approves Strategic Plan,” Plan Philly, October 30, 2014
The Philadelphia Land Bank Board today approved the Land Bank’s Proposed Strategic Plan.”

“Land Bank Holds Meeting on Strategic Plan,” Plan Philly, October 15, 2014
“The Philadelphia Land Bank held a hearing Wednesday afternoon to solicit public input on a draft of its strategic plan, which was developed by Interface Studio and a coalition of advocacy groups and released to the public earlier this month.”

“Philadelphia Land Bank releases plan to tackle vacancy,” Plan Philly, October 1, 2014
“The Philadelphia Land Bank, a nascent agency organized to streamline the redevelopment of thousands of Philadelphia’s vacant and tax-delinquent properties, released a draft of a strategic plan on Wednesday recommending a number of goals the new body should pursue over the next five years.”

“Infographic Shows Philly’s Plan for 32,000 Vacant Properties,” Curbed, October 1, 2014
“Know of a vacant lot or building in your neighborhood? After months of anticipation (and one brief official meeting), the powers behind the Philadelphia Land Bank teamed up with Interface Studios to come up with a plan to successfully reintroduce these properties into good use”.

July 2014

“Philadelphia Land Bank Holds Its First Meeting,” Plan Philly, July 31, 2014
“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.”

“What is a Land Bank?” NewsWorks, July 15, 2014
“Land banks are a tool designed to help local governments return abandoned and tax-delinquent properties in their jurisdictions into productive use.”

May 2014 

“What’s Happening with the Land Bank?” Philadelphia City Paper, May 30, 2014
“Nearly half a year after the signing of the legislation to create a land bank in Philadelphia, board members are about to select a team to create a “strategic five-year plan” for reusing the city’s massive collection of publicly owned vacant land.”

“Land Bank Updates: Strategic Planning and VPRC Transparency,” Plan Philly, May 12, 2014
“Philadelphia is inching toward realizing its Land Bank, signed into law by Mayor Nutter in January.”

March 2014

“A Diverse Coalition Made Philly’s Groundbreaking Land Bank a Reality,” Flying Kite, March 4, 2014
“Philadelphians celebrated in January when Mayor Michael Nutter signed our city’s Land Bank bill, but residents might not realize exactly what made the bill so historic.”

January 2014

“Mayor Signs Land Bank Bill Into Law,” Philadelphia Daily News, January 14, 2014
“With the stroke of his pen, Mayor Nutter signed the land-bank bill into law, making Philadelphia the largest U.S. city to have a streamlined procedure for land disposition.”

“Potentially Transformative Land Bank Becomes Reality,” NBC10 Philadelphia, January 13, 2014
“Years of hard work is finally paying for groups working towards transforming blight in Philadelphia.”

“Philadelphia Aims to Fight Blight Through New Land Bank,” Associated Press, January 13, 2014
“A newly created land bank will make it easier to manage, sell and rehabilitate thousands of vacant properties that have become community eyesores, tax liabilities and magnets for crime, Philadelphia officials said Monday.“

“Philadelphia Forges Plan to Rebuild From Decay,” New York Times, January 1, 2014
“On a desolate North Philadelphia street, an isolated block of five Victorian rowhouses is surrounded by vacant lots and a commuter rail line.”

December 2013

“Nutter Vows to Sign Bill Aimed At Getting Vacant Properties Into Hands of New Owners,” CBS Philly, December 16, 2013
“One of the most vexing issues facing Philadelphia is what to do with tens of thousands of vacant and abandoned properties.”

“Land Bank Passes in City Council,” Philadelphia Business Journal, December 13, 2013
“Philadelphia City Council unanimously approved the creation of the Philadelphia Land Bank.”

“Land Bank Reform Critical,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 11, 2013
“As City Council negotiates the final details around a Philadelphia Land Bank it’s important they stay focused on a key goal of this historic reform: transforming our vacant and blighted properties into opportunities for jobs and economic growth”

“Philadelphia Lawmakers Compromise on City ‘Land Bank’ Plan,” CBS Philly, December 5, 2013
“City Council members have reached what officials are calling an “historic” agreement to rein in a longstanding Philadelphia problem: how to dispose of tens of thousands of vacant properties and lots.”

“In Blight Fight, Philadelphia May Be Biggest City to Create a Land Bank,” Governing.com December, 2013
“Land banks have become an increasingly popular tool for cities dealing with empty lots and abandoned property.”

November 2013

“Empty Land, Full of Plans: Bill Would Consolidate Vacant Land,” Metro Philadelphia, November 4, 2013
“A City Council committee gave preliminary approval to a bill which would start a city land bank.”

October 2013

“Phila. Council Committee Says Yes to a Land Bank,” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 29, 2013
“After years of talking the talk about getting a land bank in Philadelphia, where blight scars entire neighborhoods, City Council started Monday to walk the walk.”

“Land Bank Plan Moves Forward,” Philadelphia Business Journal, October 29, 2013
“A plan to create a central agency dedicated to facilitating the sale of vacant lots or empty buildings in Philadelphia has taken a step forward.”

“Land Bank Proposal Moves Forward in City Council,” CBS Philly, October 29, 2013
“City Council is moving ahead with a new way of dealing with the tens of thousands of vacant properties in the city.”

“Philly Takes a Stab at Ending its Blight Epidemic,” NewsWorks, October 25, 2013
“Philadelphia’s glut of abandoned properties isn’t just ugly.”