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In some states, Land Bank’s have been enacted for the past decade - St. Louis created the first one in 1971. In Pennsylvania, Land Banks were just formed by Act 153 of 2012. The Westmoreland County Land Bank became the first Pennsylvanian land bank to acquire a formerly vacant and blighted property, demolish it, and sell it to a new owner.
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A Redevelopment Authority and a Land Bank are similar in the fact the scope of both organizations are essentially the same: to stabilize neighborhoods, rehabilitate older buildings when possible, and demolish when necessary. The main differences are that the Land Bank has no eminent domain powers, but can "trump" bid at a judicial sale. Properties sold through the Land Bank also have provisions built into the policies and procedures that ensures the Land Bank’s mission.
Donations from banks or current property owners, strategic purchases in annual tax sale, judicial sale (free-and-clear sale), and/or from the repository list.
One of the first Land Bank purchases was the former Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette. This is a prime example of how a Land Bank can make a meaningful impact because no other authority would have the powers possible to present a clean and marketable title for the property, positioning it for reuse in the private sector.
Yes. Most municipalities participate in the County wide demolition program facilitated by the Redevelopment Authority. If a property is owned by the Land Bank, then the program match requirements could be waived.
We do accept donations. Many banks prefer to donate rather than pay carrying costs or try to market the property themselves. Property owners who are facing costly liens, or for personal reasons, also may choose to discuss donating their property to the Land Bank.
No. The Land Bank may rehab a home or stabilize a commercial building and contract out the work, but anyone is able to buy properties out of the Land Bank who have the means and resources necessary to make the identified improvements.
The Westmoreland County Land Bank is a governmental entity that seeks foundation money and grants for rehab projects, of which the resulting revenue helps operate the Land Bank. Member municipalities also contribute in-kind services and work with the Land Bank to ensure neighborhood stabilization.
Go to www.westmorelandlandbank.com to fill out a property interest application and/ or contact our office : 724-830-3050