New York Land Banks Set New Standard for Success 

FIVE-YEAR REPORT ILLUSTRATES PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BLIGHT

 

may 25, 2017

NEWBURGH COMMUNITY LAND BANK RECOGNIZED FOR MULTI-PRONGED, PARTNERSHIP-ORIENTED APPROACH TO CATALYZING DEVELOPMENT

 

Newburgh, N.Y. - The New York Land Bank Association (NYLBA) has released New York State Land Banks: A New National Standard, summarizing the first five years of land bank activity since the state’s passage of the 2011 Land Bank Act. The report serves as a resource for local officials, state leaders, public and private funders, and other parties to learn the strategies and achievements of land banks in combating vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. 

New York State Land Banks: A New National Standard, published in partnership with the Center for Community Progress, highlights the impact of New York land banks’ critical stewardship of 1,989 acquired vacant and abandoned properties through stabilization/renovation, demolition where necessary, and responsible disposition with clear development goals and beneficial uses. As of the end of 2016, NYLBA’s members have leveraged approximately $32 million in initial funding from the New York Attorney General’s Office to attract over $77 million in private development investment and return over $28 million in assessed value to the tax rolls. As the professional association for New York land banks, NYLBA offers legal and policy guidance, public advocacy, and a forum for sharing best practices and new ideas. A major focus of NYLBA going forward will be identifying and pursuing recurring, reliable sources of funding for the state’s land banks. 

The Newburgh Community Land Bank (NCLB) was established in 2012 to address the City of Newburgh’s inventory of tax-foreclosed, vacant properties. To date, NCLB has sold 56 of its initial 82 properties, returning over $3 million in assessed value to the local tax rolls and generating $116,000 in new local taxes annually. Nine additional properties have been abated and/or stabilized, and two have been fully renovated for purchase by Newburgh residents looking to become first-time homebuyers. An example of NCLB’s recent work is the closing of a $15 million scattered-site development project with developer RUPCO, which will produce 45 affordable housing units within 17 properties spanning four city blocks. In addition to these core activities, NCLB serves as a leading partner in two major place-based initiatives, the Main Street Revitalization project reimagining the intersection of Broadway and Liberty as a “city center”, and the creation of an urban farm at Downing Park. 

NCLB was recently awarded an additional $2 million in funding from the New York State Attorney General’s Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative, the largest individual grant awarded, which will be used to create an additional 50 affordable rental units, help ten families achieve home ownership, and begin a deconstruction and salvage program to repurpose building materials and architectural elements. 

“In just a few years, we have deployed strategies that will make short and long term improvements to the quality of life for all Newburghers and we look forward to continually evolving to bring more resources and opportunities for equitable revitalization to our community,” said Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director of Newburgh Community Land Bank. 

New York State Land Banks: A New National Standard is being distributed statewide by NYLBA members and was developed with support from the Center for Community Progress and the Newburgh Community Land Bank. It is available online at www.nylandbanks.org. 

“Communities across New York are finding land banks to be flexible tools that can be adapted to their local challenges and enable them to take control of abandoned properties, giving them more options for short-term intervention and the ability to plan for longer-term neighborhood revitalization,” said Katelyn Wright, president of the NYLBA. “There are now 20 land banks across New York, created by local governments ready to proactively address the problems of abandoned property. The New York Land Bank Association has evolved over the past five years into a powerful advocate for land banks and for communities facing blight and abandonment. We’re excited to share this report outlining our collective achievements over the past five years and the challenges that lie ahead.” 

“The accomplishments of the New York land banking movement in its first five years are quite remarkable and show what’s possible when there are dedicated public sector leaders working with community partners on a shared commitment to transform vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods,” said Kim Graziani, VP and Director of National Technical Assistance of the Center for Community Progress. “New York has set the bar high in the national field of practice. We congratulate all those who have made this work happen and look forward to supporting continued success across the state.” 

Land banking began in New York following the passage of the New York Land Bank Act in 2011, which authorized the creation of land banks as a tool to address the impacts of property vacancy, abandonment and foreclosure across the state. In New York, land banks are independent nonprofit corporations. While the Land Bank Act had previously capped the number of authorized land banks at 20, the limit was increased to 25 as part of the most recent state budget negotiation. The land banks currently in operation are: 

 

• Albany County Land Bank Corporation 

• Allegany County Land Bank Corporation 

• Broome County Land Bank Corporation 

• Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation 

• Capital Region Land Reutilization Corporation 

• Cattaraugus County Land Bank Corporation 

• Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation 

• Chemung County Land Bank Corporation 

• Finger Lakes Regional Land Bank Corporation 

• Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank Corporation 

• Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation 

• Nassau County Land Bank Corporation 

• Newburgh Community Land Bank 

• Oswego County Land Bank Corporation 

• Rochester Land Bank Corporation 

• Steuben County Land Bank Corporation 

• Suffolk County Land Bank Corporation 

• Sullivan County Land Bank Corporation 

• Tioga County Property Development Corporation 

 • Troy Community Land Bank 

 

According to research by the Center for Community Progress, there are approximately 170 land banks and land banking programs across the country as of 2016. New York now has the third highest number of modern day land banks, behind only Ohio and Michigan. 

 

ABOUT THE NEWBURGH COMMUNITY LAND BANK

The Newburgh Community Land Bank was one of the first land banks formed in New York State. It returns vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties to productive use in ways that support the community’s long-range vision for equitable, sustainable development. NCLB is governed by an eleven-member board of directors consisting of city officers and community and business stakeholders. More information is available at www.newburghcommunitylandbank.org. 

 

ABOUT THE NEW YORK LAND BANK ASSOCIATION

NYLBA offers legal and policy guidance to its member land banks, develops annual legislative priorities, boasts a successful track record of legislative advocacy, and hosts an annual summit dedicated to sharing best practices and exploring more effective cross-sector solutions to the challenges posed by problem properties. NYLBA currently has 14 dues-paying members and is operated by a volunteer board of directors. More information is available at www.nylandbanks.org. 

 

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY PROGRESS

The mission of the Center for Community Progress is to foster strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Founded in 2010, Community Progress is the leading national, nonprofit resource for urban, suburban, and rural communities seeking to address the full cycle of property revitalization. The organization fulfills its mission by nurturing strong leadership and supporting systemic reforms. Community Progress works to ensure that public, private, and community leaders have the knowledge and capacity to create and sustain change. It also works to ensure that all communities have the policies, tools, and resources they need to support the effective, equitable reuse of vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties. More information is available at www.communityprogress.net.