A land bank is a public authority or nonprofit created to efficiently acquire, hold, manage and develop foreclosed property, as well as other vacant and abandoned properties.
Land banks have clear streamlined procedures to clear title, transfer properties to responsible owners, and acquire tax delinquent properties without risking their sale to speculators.
Land banks are a best practice that more than 75 governments have adopted, including Cleveland, Louisville, Atlanta, and Genesee County, MI.
Why do we need a Land Bank?
As of 2010, the estimated number of physically, economically, or for other reasons, distressed parcels in Pittsburgh was approximately 35,000 - constituting 5,603 acres or 18.7% of the land area of the City.
In 2011, it was estimated that the cost to manage, to baseline standards, all of the blighted land in the City of Pittsburgh would be $20,457,155 or $1,265 per parcel per year. This is what would be the direct cost to the City to simply maintain the problem.
While the City has taken advantage of state-given tax foreclosure powers and, to a very small extent, shepherded some of its land from blight to vibrancy over the last 15 years, the spread of these blighted conditions outpaces our ability or capacity to control or reclaim it.
At the current rate the City recycles tax-delinquent land, it would take 60 years to clear the existing backlog.
What Does Councilwoman Gross’s Bill Do?
The Pittsburgh Land Bank bill provides the legal framework for the creation of a separate entity from the City that would be responsible for recycling and re-purposing tax delinquent properties.
The Land Bank will acquire, through various means, tax delinquent parcels throughout the City, and make the acquisition of these properties easier.
This proposed legislation will transform Pittsburgh’s current land recycling system from a fragmented and disjointed process into a single entity, enabling residents and community groups to effectively transform vacant and abandoned properties in their neighborhoods.
The Pittsburgh Land Bank will level the playing field in community development throughout our City, allowing all community groups to have a hands-on role in revitalizing their neighborhoods - not just those with full-time staff capacity.