Allentown Redevelopment Authority designated as the city’s land bank

Written by on May 7, 2021

Allentown Redevelopment Authority designated as the city’s land bank

By Ben Stemrich

May 6, 2021

Photo | Ben Stemrich / WLVR

Allentown City Council recently voted to designate its Redevelopment Authority as a land bank. 

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Cities like Allentown can take over foreclosed, or delinquent properties to repurpose them through a land bank.

Kelly McEllroy, associate director of the Allentown Redevelopment Authority, 

says this is mainly about dealing with delinquent, blighted and foreclosed properties.

“Bring them into the inventory and then dispose of the property to nonprofits, community developers or to regular community members that are interested in acquiring these properties,” McEllroy says. 

This is different from eminent domain. That’s when a government takes away an owner’s property, which the redevelopment authority also has the power to do.

“We are kind of able to hedge these properties at the judicial sale and kind of stop the bleeding, per se, that we take these properties that are blighted and abandoned and a nuisance to the community and get them back to productive use quickly,” says Kelly McEllroy,

Unlike eminent domain, McEllroy says, the land bank is not in the business of evicting people.

“But if there was a potential problem and someone really wanted to stay in there, the land bank could step in, acquire the occupied property, rectify the code issues and then put them back into that property,” she says. 

The city has seen quite a few properties the land bank could acquire go to judicial sale, McEllroy says.


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