Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No Vacancies?

With Indianapolis trying to sell their vacant lots online, you've got to wonder what Memphis is doing.

Shelby County does has a land bank and, last time I checked (granted more than a year ago), had about 3,000 parcels of unwanted land.

Here's what I wrote then:

"Under state law, the county is required to bid on and receive tax-delinquent properties at auction. Developers, community housing corporations (CDCs), and the city of Memphis Housing and Community Development division usually take the properties that have potential for renovation or redevelopment.

'What is left for the county are undesirable lots,' says deputy CAO Sybille Noble. 'A lot of times they are in undesirable neighborhoods or it will be a single lot on one street. No developer wants to come in and develop one lot.'"

I was reminded that Memphis mayor Willie Hereton proposed land bank legislation late last winter. The administration apparently felt that the law limited what local governments could do with foreclosed property and wanted to be able to transfer vacant land to public, private, and non-profit entities for neighborhood revitalization.

I don't know if that legislation would be good, bad, or other, but it looks like Memphis' problem with vacant properties is on the rise.

Polar Donkey sent me these maps of vacant properties from 1990, 2000, and 2007.

Here's 1990.

Here's 2000.

And here's 2007.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Memphis had an estimated 690,111 people in July of 2000. The latest estimate put that figure at 674,028. But surely that can't account for all the vacancies.

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