Headlines: All the latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – February 20, 2014

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Photo Credit: Beth Coll

Photo Credit: Beth Coll

This is our twice-monthly round-up of the top stories about vacant, abandoned, and problem properties. These headlines are shared for informational purposes only; sharing does not indicate endorsement.

(Missed the last post? Its archived on our blog.)
We offer up highlights here, but follow us on Twitter for all the latest headlines, in real time. And we’re scouring the web so you don’t have to, but if you have a headline to share, feel free to email us!


‘Zombie’ properties are on the rise – but here’s how to kill the trend“As the Chicago area struggles to emerge from the foreclosure crisis, a growing problem poses a serious challenge to the housing recovery: zombie properties.”Dory Rand | Crain’s Chicago Business | February 12, 2014

The role of investors in post-foreclosure experience“Every housing market is unique, but a new study on Cleveland’s recovery efforts may help guide local groups seeking to repair neighborhoods hard hit in the Chicago area and elsewhere by the financial crisis.” Mary Ellen Podmolik | Chicago Tribune | February 14, 2014


City seeking ideas to improve vacant lots“Mayor Greg Fischer wants your help to improve more than 200 vacant lots throughout Louisville.”Christina Mora| WLKY | February 12, 2014


Inside Flint’s first master plan since 1960 “When Barbara Griffith-Wilson thinks of Flint’s future, she sees riverside parks, inner-city fishing piers and wide-open green spaces where houses and factories used to sit.”
Edward McClelland | Next City | January 25, 2014

Land Bank sales help drive residents to Lansing“The city of Lansing is becoming a popular living destination for those outside the region and state, according to data released recently by the Ingham County Land Bank.”
Veronica Gracia-Wing | Lansing State Journal | February 14, 2014

East-side Detroit groups gain recognition for reimagining use of vacant urban parcels “An east-side Detroit community planning effort has won national recognition for its efforts to reimagine new uses for vacant urban land – recognition that highlights possible new futures for many blighted city districts.”
Jon Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | February 9, 2014

Battling blight: Detroit maps entire city to find bad buildings“Inside one in a series of abandoned homes along a blighted block of Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood, filmmaker Tom McPhee walks through the remnants of a life – broken furniture, scattered knickknacks and a flooded basement.”
Quinn Klinefelter | NPR News | February 18, 2014

New York

A new effort in Albany to put lenders in charge of abandoned properties“The blackened, nail-filled floorboards snap under the feet of the fire chief, Michael Vatter, as he enters the burned-out home at 322 Washington Street.” Susanne Craig | New York Times | February 9, 2014

Schneiderman targets ‘zombie’ homes“State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is the latest public official targeting ‘zombie properties’ that have been abandoned and left to deteriorate.”T.J. Pignaturo  | The Buffalo News | February 10, 2014


See how sustainable demolition worked with this Cincinnati building “A 12,000-square-foot building in Avondale was demolished on Tuesday, but the process used to take it down was far from conventional.” Erin Caproni | Cincinnati Business Courier| February 14, 2014

Tremont climbers propose renovating historic church into indoor climbing gym“A pair of Tremont-based rock climbers, Niki Zmij and Chick Holtkamp, has developed a proposal to transform the historic Fifth Church of Christ Scientistinto a state-of-the-art rock climbing facility.” Lee Chilcote | Fresh Water | February 13, 2014


TRF: Blight enforcement increases home values“The city’s use of two anti-blight laws in the last few years has resulted in increased property values for certain parts of the city, according to an analysis by the community development financial institution, The Reinvestment Fund.” Claudia Vargas | Philly.com| February 12, 2014


Citizen code enforcement volunteers set to help city fight blight“People tired of what they see and ready to reclaim their neighborhoods packed a room at the library.”April Thompson | WREG| February 10, 2014

West Virginia

Abandoned buildings program to provide momentum for eight W.Va. communitiest“The Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University has awarded eight West Virginia communities with technical assistance grants.”Glenn Waldron | WVU Today | February 13, 2014

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Photo Credit: Buffalo Young Preservationists

Photo Credit: Buffalo Young Preservationists

Valentines for vacants“If you think preservationists are out hugging buildings this time of year, you are wrong.” Michael R. Allen | Next City | February 14, 2014