March 23, 2012 [WEWS]
CLEVELAND – The Cuyahoga Land Bank is celebrating two milestones this week.
On Thursday the group announced they have acquired their 1,500th property and have also demolished their 750th property.
The land bank, formed in 2009, was created with the goal of strategically acquiring properties in order to return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals and improve the quality of life for county residents.
“We are happy to make progress in the battle against blight in our neighborhoods,” said Cuyahoga Land Bank President and General Counsel Gus Frangos in a press release. “There is still much work to be done and we will continue to work diligently with our board and city partners so that our community can make strides toward recovery.”
The Cuyahoga Land Bank said most properties they acquire are nuisance properties that cannot be rehabilitated. The properties come from a variety of sources, including banks, government sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae, federal and state agencies, such as HUD, as well as real estate lost to tax foreclosure and donated properties. Once acquired, the Cuyahoga Land Bank assesses the property to determine if it can be rehabilitated or if it must be demolished.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank also works with the city of Cleveland (which also has a land bank) to work on handing over the titles to all vacant land after completing demolition and helping target demolition activity.
The primary funding for the Cuyahoga Landbank comes from the accumulation of penalties and interest on collected delinquent real estate taxes and assessments. Because much of this particular funding results from the addition of penalty and interest on collected delinquent real estate taxes, very little primary levied taxes are used to fund the operations of the Land Bank.
This primary revenue stream is supplemented by grants from the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s partners, the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s sale of acquired properties to qualified rehabbers and housing developers, as well as the donations and recoupment of funds from various banks.