When news broke early this year that the Philadelphia Land Bank had 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," some of you, understandably dubious, were all like, "yeah, ok, sure." Or, more specifically, expressed legitimate concerns with the way Philly government has historically treated (or mis-treated) the process of land development in our city:
Note the addresses. These properties are just inside the 7th Councilmanic District (Maria Quinones). South of Oxford or east of American, and this would be the 5th District (Clarke). Don't expect any 5th District RFPs. Those parcels are "reserved."
—Guest #1 [Development Watch: Philly Land Bank Solicits First RFPs] In a press release today, the Philadelphia Land Bank announced that it was withdrawing its first Request for Proposals, concluding that "development was not realistic for the site." But, here's the deal: there were proposals for the site. They just apparently weren't the right kind of proposals. Per the press release: "The Land Bank had issued the RFP with the expectation that proposals would be submitted to develop the site. However, the only proposal received sought to use the site for a garden and off-street parking." The release continues:
Rather than convey the site to one property owner, the Land Bank will withdraw the RFP to allow for a community engagement process that will explore the best means of retaining the site as open space. Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez will lead that process. You'll recall that in an early commentary on the Philadelphia Land Bank, 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." Looks like their concerns were justified.
And this, children, is how blight tightens its grip on our city.
· Philly Land Bank solicits first RFPs [Curbed Philly]
· How to buy a vacant side yard for $1 or less [Curbed Philly]
· Land Bank a boon to green thumbs [Curbed Philly]
· Philadelphia Forges Plan to Rebuild From Decay [NYT]