Items tagged with 'blight fight'

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.

A chunk of money for chipping away at the number of vacant buildings in Albany

Clinton Ave Habitat house next land bank house

The blue building on the left is an Albany County Land Bank property has been rehabbed by Habitat for Humanity Capital District -- the one on the right is another land bank property.

The city of Albany is offering $50,000 to people looking to take on the challenge of fixing up a vacant building and putting it back to use.

Kathy Sheehan mentioned the initiative -- the aptly-titled Vacant Building Rehabilitation Program -- during her state of the city address early this year. And on Tuesday the city released the details of the program, which is backed by $1 million.

(there's more)

Albany County Land Bank buyer workshops

Albany County Land Bank property Roosevelt St Albany

A property on Roosevelt Street in Albany recently acquired by the Albany County Land Bank. / photo courtesy of the ACLB

The Albany County Land Bank has a few workshops coming up for people who might interested in buying one of its properties. Blurbage:

In this workshop Virgina Rawlins, our Housing Counselor, will walk you through your application and answer any questions. This workshop is important to all who are interested in purchasing a property from the Land Bank and for those who are considering purchasing a property; every individual will go through the same process.

The workshops are:
+ Monday, April 3 at the Albany Public Library Washington Ave branch at 6 pm
+ Wednesday, April 19 at 255 Orange Street at 6 pm

The land bank website displays available properties in both list and map form. And here's a map of land bank properties in their various states -- from evaluation in progress to sold. Many of the properties are in the city of Albany, but others are spread around the county.

The Albany County Land Bank website currently lists about 20 available properties, both buildings and vacant lots. But there are lot of properties in the pipeline -- the land bank recently announced it had acquired 265 properties in the city of Albany.

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 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).

Earlier:
+ The push to breathe life into the buildings that breathed light
+ Bringing Albany buildings back from blight and making them into owner-occupied homes

New life for buildings in Schenectady's Eastern Ave neighborhood -- and aspirations to lift the whole neighborhood

Eastern Ave projects composite

By Haley Viccaro

Schenectady's Eastern Avenue neighborhood, a residential strip not far from downtown and Union College, has been struggling for years with blighted buildings and closed businesses.

But several people are now looking past the deterioration and neglect, instead focusing on the potential behind the century-old homes and historic structures. They're investing money and time toward bringing new life to individual properties, hoping to lift the entire neighborhood.

Here's a look at a handful of people and projects.

(there's more)

The push to breathe life into the buildings that breathed light

Breathing Lights Schenectady Stanley Street

By Haley Viccaro

Now that the vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy are no longer "breathing" light, what's next for the properties?

The land banks in the three cities, along with the cities themselves, are working to connect potential buyers with the homes in the hope they'll be repaired and occupied.

How's that going so far?

(there's more)

How 27 properties in a Troy neighborhood ended up in a shaky situation -- and the complicated path back to solid footing

Beman Park 2152 Fourteenth St

One of the properties on Fourteenth Street.

By Luke Stoddard Nathan

On January 12, 2012, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy issued an emergency notification, advising students who rented off-campus housing from a company called Campus Habitat "that the continuation of their ability to reside in that residence may be in immediate jeopardy." Campus Habitat had not paid its mortgage, utility bills, or real-estate taxes for several months, and was "involved in a large similar foreclosure lawsuit" near a school in Illinois, the alert advised.

Some 200 students escrowed or withheld rent; many sought new housing. And the memo was prophetic: Within weeks, the student-rental company's largest area lender, SEFCU, posted foreclosure notices on the doors of 27 homes.

Today students still occupy most of these homes, but it wasn't a straight path to this point. Sited in teetering neighborhoods in a city never far from "fiscal chaos," this critical assemblage of student housing, over the past half decade, has entailed a tangle of litigation, a protracted sale period, a surprise intervention, and millions of dollars in public and private investment -- all to overcome the actions of a landlord who profited at the community's expense and left a sizable chunk of the neighborhood untended.

(there's more)

Bringing Albany buildings back from blight and making them into owner-occupied homes

Habitat 309 Clinton Ave rehab exterior 2016-December

The renovated row home on Clinton Ave in Arbor Hill.

When Habitat for Humanity comes up, the image that probably pops into a lot of people's minds is that of a volunteer org getting together on weekends and building small houses, one at a time.

But, as we've mentioned before, Habitat for Humanity Capital District has been working in recent years as something more like a neighborhood developer, doing large-scale projects such as the ongoing redevelopment in Sheridan Hollow.

Now Habitat for Humanity Capital District is evolving again, this time working to renovate blighted buildings in the city of Albany back into owner-occupied homes.

(there's more)

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