City-Owned Vacant Property Sales Made Easier with New Online Tool

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) has shared details about a much-needed initiative to develop an online vacant property database that will integrate a large number of city-owned empty buildings and blighted parcels.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) has shared details about a much-needed initiative to develop an online vacant property database that will integrate a large number of city-owned empty buildings and blighted parcels.

In recent years the growing inventory of vacant properties has become one of Philadelphia’s biggest challenges, despite countless efforts of neighborhood revitalization projects. It is estimated that the number of abandoned properties ranges from 30,000 to 40,000 citywide, depending on the reporting source.

With the launch of this new website, which is projected to become fully operational in mid-June, PRA hopes to implement a more transparent management of these vacant properties and offer potential buyers a comprehensive map displaying vital property details such as size, location, zoning and availability. The new website will serve as the primary contact for community groups, private developers and neighborhood residents looking to purchase vacant properties that will be listed at market rates. Once a letter of intent is submitted via the website, the agency listing the property will guide the potential buyer through the sale process.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the integrated online system was completed in about one year with help and technology provided by the Davenport Group, and it required a $350,000 investment for the software and hardware components. During the initial phase the online database will offer public access to around 9,000 properties (most of them residential) which are currently owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation and the city’s Department of Public Property.