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City plans to create non-profit land bank program

Rochester Business Journal
February 6, 2013

The city of Rochester has applied for permission to create a not-for-profit corporation to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties to productive use, officials announced Wednesday.

The application has been submitted to the Empire State Development Corp. for the second round of the state’s land bank program. The Rochester land bank also involves the Home Rochester program administered by the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership Inc.

“Even though we are facing a significant $28 million budget gap, we cannot stop investing in our city and in our neighborhoods,” Mayor Thomas Richards said in a statement. “We will not slow down our investments to turn this city around.

“A land bank for Rochester would allow us to improve on the great successes we’ve experienced in neighborhoods all over the city by making the home renovation process better, faster and cheaper.”

A typical home demolition costs $25,000, city officials said. Vacant homes can be renovated and owner-occupied through Home Rochester for a comparable amount or less with funding from the state and other entities, they said.

Plans call for the land bank to take title to some 25 vacant, single-family homes each year for two years, with Home Rochester rehabilitating them and selling to first-time home buyers, officials said.

“The Rochester land bank is a critical tool for continuing the work of Home Rochester,” GRHP President Jean Lowe said in the statement.

“It will allow us to acquire, with clean title and low prices, the vacant houses we use to support neighborhoods and build homebuyer equity.”

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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