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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Syracuse council handily overrides Miner veto, erasing Land Bank funds and reducing OT

“Syracuse council handily overrides Miner veto, erasing Land Bank funds and reducing OT”

“The Common Council easily overturned 11 budget vetoes from Mayor Stephanie Miner Monday afternoon. The council overrode Miner with a vote of eight to one to cut funding for the Land Bank and nine to none to reduce overtime funds for cops and firefighters… The votes Monday mean the Land Bank will lose $1.5 million in city funding. Officials have said that money would have been used to demolish 60 blighted homes.”

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Spring 2017 Newsletter

Spring 2017 Newsletter

In this newsletter:

  • April is Home Ownership Month
  • Community Meetings to design “pocket parks”
  • Featured Listings
  • Featured Renovation: 511 Highland Street
We can hardly recognize the fully renovated 511 Highland Street!
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Syracuse Land Bank once again a top earner of NY attorney general’s office grants

“Syracuse Land Bank once again a top earner of NY attorney general’s office grants”

“The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is once again a top earner of grant funding from the office of the New York state attorney general. The funding is awarded from mortgage settlements the attorney general’s office made with big banks after the housing crisis.

Land banks acquire tax delinquent properties so they can be resold to responsible owners. The Syracuse Land Bank received $5 million in the first two rounds of attorney general funding, more than any other land bank in the state. It tied for the largest award in this third round of grants with $2 million. Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright attributed that to the support from the city of Syracuse.

“They’re giving us a steady stream of properties and a steady stream of funding,” Wright said. “The AG looks at this situation and sees that we have properties that are shovel-ready and we’re ready to accept these grant funds and get projects done very quickly. Our local governments, the city and the county have really stepped up and said we want to pursue this ambitious course of action, we want to go after the size of the problem. The city has foreclosed on about 1,300 abandoned properties so far and conveyed them to us.”

Most of the $2 million will be spent on nearly 60 demolitions. The land bank has a backlog of 230 properties to demolish.”

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Greater Syracuse Land Bank gets $2 million to demolish, renovate abandoned homes

“Greater Syracuse Land Bank gets $2 million to demolish, renovate abandoned homes”

“The land bank is among 19 statewide that received more than $20 million in funding, but it was one of just two that got the full $2 million available. The land bank has now received more than $5 million total from the AG’s grant, called the Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative.

The bank here will use the money to demolish 56 “blighted” properties in and around the city, as well as to renovate eight other homes, according to a statement from the organization.”

545 Oakwood is one of the 56+ blighted homes that will be demolished using these funds.
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