There’s some land in Philadelphia the city wants to sell — at reasonable prices. There’s some other land the city wants to sell for a buck.
Simone Smith, Frankford Neighborhood Advisory Committee coordinator, told members that the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority has an online list of city-owned vacant buildings and vacant land at phillylandworks.org.
Keep in mind that these are not dream properties, but they have potential. The properties on the list are not homes in move-in condition or even homes that need moderate improvements. Also, they are not functional storefronts, Smith said during the NAC’s Aug. 8 session at the Second Baptist Church of Frankford at Meadow and Mulberry streets.
The city does have vacant lots large and small and vacant buildings, and the prices might be very, very low. Potential buyers can go online and express interest in the property by following the site’s instructions, Smith said. And there are some limits put on purchasers.
“There are some things you can and can not use the property for,” she said. “It depends on zoning.”
For example, a buyer might want to turn an adjacent lot into a driveway and might need a zoning variance to do that, she said.
And the city wants payment upfront, Smith said, which means buyers have to arrange their own financing and be prepared to pay transfer fees and taxes.
Making these properties available at bargain prices is a year-old program, said Jason Dawkins, an aide to Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez (D-7th dist.)
There also is a “side lot” program that makes some lots available for a buck, Dawkins said.
ldquo;If you live next to a vacant city-owned property, you can buy it for a dollar,” Dawkins told NAC members last week.
To see if the property is eligible for this program, Dawkins said, interested parties may call him at 215-686-3448.
“We’ll vet the property for you,” he said.
NAC members and residents quickly disposed of a few zoning matters last week by voting not to oppose variance applications for:
- Expansion of a day-care center into an adjacent vacant building at 3959 Frankford Ave.
- A grocery store at 1167 Bridge St. The property, empty for seven years, previously had been a grocery store before it was a law office and residence.
- A kitchen expansion in a private home at 1950 Bridge St.
Members were also reminded to apply for the $30,000 Homestead Exemption. Owners who live in their homes are eligible to have $30,000 removed from the taxable assessment of their properties. If the exemption is granted for a property assessed at $50,000, for example, the owner would pay taxes on only $20,000 of the assessment. The deadline to apply is Sept. 13. Call the Homestead Hot Line at 215-686-9200 to apply over the phone.
So far, only about two-thirds of the homeowners eligible for the exemption have applied. ••