The Rochester Land Bank Corp. has won a $2.78 million grant, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday. The money is earmarked to help acquire and resell distressed vacant Rochester properties.
The state Legislature first authorized municipalities to set up land banks in 2011. In addition to acquiring and reselling distressed properties, cities are to use land bank grants to hire staff to carry out the program.
The Rochester grant is one of seven similar land bank awards Schneiderman announced Tuesday. Other awardees are:
- Greater Syracuse Property Corp., $3 million;
- Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Bank Corp, $2.7 million;
- Newburg Community Land Bank, $2.5 million;
- Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp., $1.5 million; and
- Suffolk County Land Bank Corp., $675,000.
The land bank grants come in the first round of a $20 million handout of some of the state’s proceeds from a $25 billion settlement reached among 49 state attorneys general and five major banks last year.
The attorneys general had sued Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. (formerly GMAC Mortgage LLC), charging their mortgage servicing units with abuse and fraud that beginning in late 2008 sparked a wave of foreclosures and depressed much of the U.S. real estate and home building industries for the next four years.
“We must continue investing in our neighborhoods despite our challenging fiscal environment. The Rochester Land Bank … will help make our neighborhood revitalization efforts better, faster and more efficient,” Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards said.
“I commend the Attorney General for making this significant investment in our land bank. Neighborhood revitalization and preservation must remain top priorities,” said Rochester City Council president Lovely Warren, who is the Democratic city mayoral candidate.
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