Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned and problem properties – January 9, 2014

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361This is our twice-monthly round-up of the top stories about vacant, abandoned, and problem properties.

While we offer up highlights here, follow us on Twitter for all the latest headlines, in real time.

We’re scouring the web so you don’t have to – but if you have a headline to share, feel free to email us!  


Wall Street unlocks profits from distress with rental revolutionNational landlords, with vast access to capital and lending, are purchasing foreclosed housing stock and creating “rental-home empires,” impacting would-be homeowners.Heather Perlberg and John Gittelsohn | Bloomberg | December 20, 2013


Where in Macon-Bibb County do you see blight?The launch of a four-month long series on blight in Macon-Bibb county and the efforts to combat it.The Telegraph | January 6, 2014


Banks reap benefits from donating foreclosed homesThe Tribune found that banks are often times the biggest winners in vacant property transfers to nonprofits in Chicago. David Jackson and Gary Marx | Chicago Tribune | December 20, 2013


Bill to target abandoned-home epidemic in Indiana
A new bill in Indiana aims to reduce the waiting period for foreclosure as well as reduce the incentives to purchase tax liens on abandoned property without renovating.
J Chris O’Malley | Indiana Business Journal | December 23, 2013


Metro Louisville launches $38,000 competition for vacant lot reuse conceptsLouisville is seeking proposals for the creative reclamation of its vacant properties.
Joseph Lord | WFPL | January 7, 2014


Lawsuits filed over mural project intended to shame Baltimore landlords“A Baltimore woman who has gained national attention for a project intended to publicly shame those who own vacant houses in the city now faces two lawsuits […]”Elizabeth Crisp | Baltimore Sun | December 28, 2013


What new development projects can Detroit expect in 2014?A look at what new development we can hope to see this year in Detroit.John Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | January 5, 2013

Roundtable focuses on city blightMembers of the Michigan Vacant Properties Campaign met last month in an effort to address blight in Port Huron.Crystal Garcia | The Times Herald | December 18, 2013


New Bancroft school apartments are seen as a spark for urban core redevelopmentAn abandoned school is being redeveloped into 29 new apartments in Kansas City, and there are hopes that the development will bring positive momentum to the surrounding area.Mike Hendricks | Kansas City Star | December 6, 2013

New York

Syracuse Mayor Miner tells Atlantic Cities she’s proud to copy other cities with land bank, other ideasIn a new Atlantic Cities video, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner explains why she is excited that her city is copying land bank models from cities like Flint, MI.Michelle Breidenbach | Syracuse.com | January 4, 2014

County posts $10.3 million in tax collectionsDespite New York City’s chronic lack of public housing, many public rental units lie blighted and unused.Harold Mcneil | The Buffalo News | January 6, 2014


Use Cleveland-East Cleveland merger to build a regional approach to problem-solvingAn editorial arguing that a merger could help build a more regional approach to public issues.Brent Larkin | Cleveland.com | December 21, 2013


A restaurant to fuel Rust Belt renewalA new restaurant development in a small Pennsylvania town is trying to bring back the surrounding area.Liz Hersh | Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania | December 16, 2013

Westmoreland County authority to buy, rehab and sell parcelsThe Westmoreland County land bank will be open for business in the new year.Rich Cholodofsky | TribLIVE | December 29, 2013

Philadelphia Forges Plan to Rebuild From DecayAn overview of the city’s new effort to rehabilitate its vacant properties through a land bank. Jon Hurdle | New York Times | December 31, 2013

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!


Free houses for writers: Inside the Write a House projectA new project in Detroit is filling vacant houses with new residents, giving writers a free place to stay, and attracting literary talent to the city.Carolyn Kellogg | Los Angeles Times | December 24, 2013