Greater Syracuse Land Bank Completes 500th Sale, Briefs Common Council on Progress to Date and Challenges Ahead

“Greater Syracuse Land Bank Completes 500th Sale, Briefs Common Council on Progress to Date and Challenges Ahead”

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank expects to complete its 500th sale this Thursday!


Today the Greater Syracuse Land Bank plans to complete its 500th sale of formerly tax delinquent property. This is a significant milestone in the 5 years of the Land Bank’s operations, over a third of its properties have been returned to the tax rolls. The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is the largest organization of its kind in NY State and has been held up as a national model for other communities to emulate.


500 sales by the numbers:

  • 45% of all residential structures sold have become owner occupied.
  • 91% of all buyers reside within Onondaga County and 77% in the City of Syracuse.
  • Of the 1,425 properties acquired to date, the Land Bank has returned over 1/3 to private owners and productive use.
  • 500 Properties Sold
    • Leverage over $17.6 million in private renovation investment
    • Returned to the tax rolls, these properties generate over $880,000 in local property taxes annually

Executive Director Katelyn Wright will brief the Syracuse Common Council’s Neighborhood Preservation Committee on Thursday, November 2nd at 11:00 AM in the Common Council Chambers.  “I’m pleased to share the Land Bank’s success with the Councilors and continue to discuss operational improvements,” Wright said, “We are proud of the work the Land Bank has done to date, and strive to provide better service, communication, and strategic planning to the residents of Syracuse and Onondaga County.”  The attached “Progress Report” highlights successes to date and challenges that lie ahead for the Land Bank. Read the full report.


Incorporated in 2012, the Greater Syracuse Land Bank is a not-for-profit corporation jointly founded by the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County. The Land Bank’s primary purpose is to return vacant, abandoned, underutilized, and tax-delinquent properties to productive use in ways that support the community’s long-range vision for its future.

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One last chance to paint for the Vacant Mural project in Syracuse

“One last chance to paint for the Vacant Mural project in Syracuse”

The mural project has resulted in vacant, deteriorating homes becoming works of art around the city, often with the help of people who live in the same neighborhoods.

The project was the brainchild of Logan Reidsma and Liam Kirst, who were working for the Greater Syracuse Land Bank through AmeriCorps.

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Creating Murals to Brighten Vacant, Blighted Properties in Syracuse Neighborhoods

“Creating Murals to Brighten Vacant, Blighted Properties in Syracuse Neighborhoods”

WAER covered the impact Liam Kirst and Logan Reidsma had as AmeriCorps members working with the Greater Syracuse Land Bank for 10 months. During their terms of service Liam and Logan organized a series of opportunities for volunteers to paint the boards that we use to secure vacant homes.  Decorated boards have gone up all over the City of Syracuse since this project started.  Click the link below to listen to the full article.

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See zombie Syracuse homes to be replaced by affordable apartments

“See zombie Syracuse homes to be replaced by affordable apartments”

Construction of 53 apartments on Butternut and Townsend Streets moving forward! The Land Bank has been working with Housing Visions since 2014 on plans to revitalize the Butternut Street corridor. This $16 million project will provide much needed funding for the demolition of 11 blighted structures and new construction to replace them. Thank you to William Magnarelli for supporting this project.

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City stuck maintaining vacant houses as Land Bank tightens its belt

“City stuck maintaining vacant houses as Land Bank tightens its belt”

“The Land Bank takes tax-delinquent homes seized by the city and either returns them to taxable use or demolishes them. It is the city’s main way of dealing with its 1,800 vacant properties.

But since the city council cut $1.5 million from the Land Bank’s budget, the agency has begun refusing to accept properties in need of demolition. If the Land Bank can’t afford to demolish the property, leaders don’t want to be saddled with the costs of insuring and maintaining a decrepit building.

That cost will now fall to the city in most cases.

“With losing $1.5 million in demolition funding, we’ve had to take a look at whether we can afford to take more into our inventory,” said Katelyn Wright, executive director of the Land Bank. “If it’s a demo candidate, we’ve decided we can’t take any more.”

The Land Bank currently has $4 million in its reserve funds — money Common Councilors have said it could use to plug the hole left by the lack of city funds.

Wright, however, said she is budgeting for a loss of about $3.6 million over the next three fiscal years as the Land Bank more aggressively targets houses for renovation or demolition and begins to unload the thousand properties it currently owns.”

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Syracuse Land Bank Marks 5th Anniv. With Bus Tour Showcasing Progress

“Syracuse Land Bank Marks 5th Anniv. With Bus Tour Showcasing Progress”

 “We’re highlighting some of the positive outcomes of what we’re able to do, primarily as a conduit to get abandoned properties into the hands of responsible, local buyers.  We’re highlighting some of the nice renovations that have been done.”                       

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Syracuse land bank ‘bearing fruit’ 5 years in

“Syracuse land bank ‘bearing fruit’ 5 years in”

“The Greater Syracuse Land Bank celebrated its fifth birthday this week with a bus trip to show off some of its success stories.

Land bank officials and others visited demolition sights, a community garden and renovated rental housing, like Sam Reppi’s conversion of a dilapidated building on Burnet Avenue into apartments and a storefront business.

Reppi has already sunk more than $100,000 into the circa 1890 building. He’s a big fan of the the land bank approach to revitalizing city neighborhoods by buying tax delinquent properties and either demolishing or selling them.

“This is how you rebuild neighborhoods,” Reppi said. “One property at a time, one investor at a time.””

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June 2017 Newsletter

June 2017 Newsletter

Our June Newsletter is jam-packed with upcoming events and recapping recent news:

  • This Saturday, June 3, we’re holding a volunteer board painting event. Join us between 10:00 AM and noon at 2110 S. Salina Street. More information available here.
  • We recap 40 Below’s recent “One House” event in which 40 Below Public Arts Task Force volunteers and volunteers from Ultraclean, Inc. worked to beautify Land Bank properties on Midland Ave. Volunteers cleaned up trash and overgrowth, painted over graffiti, and hung decorative boards prepared by the 40 Below Public Arts Task Force.
  • NEHDA‘s Historic Hawley-Green Homes Tour scheduled for Saturday, June 17, includes a renovated Land Bank home purchased by the next-door neighbor who was interested in stabilizing his block. We’re excited for people to check out this success story in person!  Tickets can be purchased here.
  • Staff Changes – Proud to announce promoting Jake Thorsen to the position of Director of Operations!
  • Buyers’ Workshop – June 27 from 6:00 – 7:30 at the Land Bank’s offices – 431 E Fayette Street in the third floor conference room. Come learn how to buy a Land Bank property and get your questions answered.
  • Spring Cleanup recap: In the past year the Land Bank has completed over 11,100 individual lawn mowings and picked up over 6,900 cubic yards of trash and debris.  Our crews are on a regular rotation, but if you see a Land Bank property in your neighborhood that needs attention, please call our office at (315) 422-2301.
  • Community Gardens update: The Land Bank sponsored Syracuse Grows‘ 2017 resource drive, delivering compost and wood chips to dozens of community gardens across the City. We currently lease 14 lots to community gardens and the newest, leased to RISE, just broke ground in early May!
  • City of Syracuse eliminates Land Bank funding from coming 2017-18 budget
  • NY Land Banks – a five year progress report on land banks across the state
  • Featured Property for Sale and Recently Completed Renovation
  • Land Bank By the Numbers – our latest stats:
    • Properties acquired to date: 1,338
    • Properties sold: 441
    • Private investment leveraged: $17.4 million
    • Grant funds leveraged: $10.3 million
    • Estimated annual taxes generated by properties sold and returned to the tax rolls: $805,000
    • Demolitions completed: 175
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