Items tagged with 'Albany County Land Bank'

A push to turn vacant buildings into owner-occupied homes -- with some help and coaching

Albany County Land Bank 351 Clinton Avenue

351 Clinton Ave is one of the properties that's part of the program. / photo: Albany County Land Bank

The Albany County Land Bank is starting up a program with the goal of helping people renovate vacant properties and become homeowners. Blurbage for the Equitable Ownership Pilot Program:

EOPP aims to increase opportunities for homeownership in neighborhoods with large concentrations of vacant properties. The majority of the Land Bank's real estate acquisitions are in economically distressed neighborhoods where most residents are people of color. For decades, these neighborhoods have had disproportionately low levels of homeownership, created in large part by discriminatory housing practices dating back to the 1930s. A recent analysis by the Urban Institute on the gap between white and black homeownership rates in the 100 American cities with the highest number of black households found that the City of Albany has the second widest gap of all cities included in the study.
The initial phase of EOPP consists of five single or multifamily residential buildings located in the City of Albany. Buildings selected for EOPP are in economically distressed neighbors and require a low to moderate amount of rehabilitation relative to other properties in the Land Bank's inventory. Future phases of the program will be expanded to the cities of Cohoes and Watervliet, based upon property availability. Under the program, qualified applicants will receive a 15% discount off the listing price or a seller's concession of equal value to support the rehabilitation of a participating property, along with reduced closing costs.
Buyers will be paired with a "Rehabilitation Mentor" who will assist with creating a redevelopment plan and provide support during the rehabilitation process - from kickoff to close out - which typically takes 12 months. Buyers must provide evidence of sufficient financial capacity to complete the rehabilitation project prior to purchasing a property and will be paired with available resources if applicable.

(there's more)

The Albany County Land Bank is again selling lots in Albany for $100

360 Sheridan Ave, one of the lots for sale.

The Albany County Land Bank is again selling a bunch of vacant lots in the city of Albany for $100. It did something similar last year, and this time around it's opened the program up a bit by allowing nearby renters to buy the lots. Press release blurbage:

The "Spend a Little, Get a LOT!" program is designed to increase opportunities for residents to own vacant lots and help stabilize economically distressed neighborhoods. Under this year's program, 32 vacant lots will be available for purchase for $100 each, plus significantly reduced closing costs. ...
The Land Bank acquired the participating lots from Albany County through tax-foreclosure. The lots are located in the Land Bank's Focus Neighborhoods, which are among the most economically distressed in Albany County and include: Arbor Hill, Sheridan Hollow, South End, West End and West Hill in the City of Albany. ...
In response to feedback from local residents, the program has been expanded to include renters who have resided on the block face of a participating lot for five or more years. Other eligible applicants for this program include those that own property immediately adjacent to, or on the same block face as, the participating lot.

As with anything like this, it's very important to read all the details (see the first link above). Among them: "Buyers will also be required to retain ownership of the property for a period of five years." Also: Closing costs could push the all-in price to something like $700-$800.

The land bank will be accepting applications June 1 through June 30 and scored on criteria such as geographic proximity and proposed use.

Albany County Land Bank successful buyer workshop

Albany County Land Bank property Morton Ave AlbanyThe Albany County Land Bank has a "Successful Buyers Workshop" coming up February 22 for people who might be interested in buying a land bank property. Blurbage:

Here success stories from land bank home owners
Learn more about applying for land bank properties
Learn about rehabs, new construction, and more!

The workshops is Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 pm at the 200 Henry Johnson Blvd building in Albany. It's free.

Land bank?
Very short: The land bank is an independent org that works to shepherd vacant or abandoned properties that have been seized by the county in tax foreclosure into the hands of people can rehab the buildings and put them back into productive use. It's now sold 200 properties since it started up in 2014.

A city lot for $100

albany county land bank vacant lot sale

One of the lots up for sale is on Fourth Ave in the South End. / photo via Albany County Land Bank

The Albany County Land Bank is selling off a handful of vacant lots around the city of Albany for $100 each (plus a few other costs) in a program it's calling... "Spend a little, get a lot!"*

The application process starts today, June 1, and runs through June 30. Press release blurbage:

The Land Bank has identified 40 tax-foreclosed, vacant lots to participate in the program. Most of the lots are located in the Land Bank's Focus Areas: the Arbor Hill, Sheridan Hollow, South End, West End and West Hill neighborhoods in the City of Albany. To be eligible, buyers must be property owners located on the same block as the participating lot and must be current on all taxes, water/sewer bills, and have no outstanding code violations or unresolved foreclosures. Preference will be given to applications based on factors including proximity to the lot and ownership status. Buyers will have 30 days from the date of purchase to ensure the property meets all City of Albany codes and will be required to retain ownership of the property for a period of five years.

The land bank link above has a map of the vacant lots, along with a detailed info page explaining eligibility and some of the additional costs involved. (Though the purchase price is just $100, total costs will be at least $700.)

Vacant lots are kind of like missing teeth in a streetscape, especially in dense neighborhoods. Bringing some sort of activity to them -- a garden, a neighborhood gathering space, just some regularly-mown grass -- can be a big help to a street.

Land bank?
Land banks are a relatively new concept. The idea is that they serve as a bridge between when a vacant property is seized in tax foreclosure and when it's bought by a new owner for renovation and/or redevelopment. Land banks acquire the properties, stabilize them, and then market them for sale with the aim of finding buyers who will redevelop them responsibly. The orgs can also "bank" properties (thus the name) to group them or otherwise set them up for better chances of successful development.

The Capital Region has three land banks: Albany County Land Bank, Troy Community Land Bank, and Capital Region Land Bank (Schenectady and Amsterdam).

* (rimshot) They'll be here all week.

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