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Development Watch: Philly Land Bank Solicits First RFPs

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All eyes on North Bodine. In the beginning of January, the Philadelphia Land Bank solicited its first request for proposals from developers to acquire and develop "some or all of seventeen (17) contiguous parcels along the 1600 block of North Bodine Street." The site, which consists of 1616-1620, 1622 - 1642, 1644, 1646, and 1648 North Bodine Street, is currently owned by The City of Philadelphia, with the exception of 1648, which is owned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.

When the land bank bill was passed by City Council 15-0 in 2013 and subsequently signed into law by Mayor Nutter in January 2014, Philadelphia became the the biggest American city to establish a municipal land bank. "The magnitude of this opportunity is hard to overstate," wrote PlanPhilly's Ashley Hahn in the days preceding its passing. She continues:

The land bank will create a new path toward putting thousands of our 40,000 vacant, underused, blighted, delinquent properties to new uses.

For the parcels now up for bid in Olde Kensington, the Land Bank has invited proposals for a single parcel or multiple parcels, and all proposals, including a "good faith deposit in the amount of 10% of bid price, must be received on or before 5pm on February 20, 2015."

When Mayor Nutter put pen to paper last January, the inevitable chatter commenced around the question of if the Land Bank would really work, in real life. In Philly. To this point, The New York Times wrote: "critics are concerned about a provision in the ordinance creating the Philadelphia Land Bank that requires City Council approval for all sales, saying that could delay the disposal of properties and bog down redevelopment."

University of Pennsylvania Urban economist Kevin Gillen continued:

I would have liked for the land bank to be a giant leap forward, but instead it's just a significant step forward. Perhaps we can all agree that this first RFP is indeed a step forward: giant, significant, or even very simply in the right direction.

· Land Bank issues first RFP [Philly Land Bank]
· Land Bank Request for Proposal [Philly Land Bank]
· 5 hopeful things about the Philly Land Bank [PlanPhilly]
· Let us explain the Land Bank to you as if you were a child [Philebrity]