Last night Baltimore’s Mayor Dixon hosted a town hall style meeting about vacant and abandoned house problem. Mayor Dixon, Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano, Deputy Commissioner Code Enforcement Michael Braverman and panel of city officials spoke about how the city is handling the vacant properties they own.
Three ways to acquire Baltimore city owned property
Listening to the panel I was impressed that the city has taken steps to correct some of the problems with acquiring city owned properties. Yet it seems they still don’t understand some of the problems. They spoke of three programs.
- Rolling Bid Program – where small investors and developers can purchase properties from a list of properties available.
- Request For Proposals (RFPs) – where bundles of properties are offered to developers that can handle larger projects.
- Scope – Selling City Owned Properties Efficiently. These properties are listed with real estate agents.
The rolling bid program is a little known program which you can find along with Scope properties and RFPs on the Baltimore Housing website. The last thing you could call the SCOPE program is efficient. Few investors bother because of the hoops you must jump through.
I am sorry I didn’t catch one of the panelist’s name but he said he has been very good at getting deals approved by the Board of Estimates. The city’s goal is to get these properties in the hands of someone who can get the job done. That is more important to them than getting top dollar. If you put in a proposal make sure you emphasis how qualified you are, particularly financially.
Baltimore Land Bank Authority
In addition to these existing programs they spoke about the Land Bank Authority they want to create. This has been approved on the state level and is now waiting for City Council approval. This will give the city more flexibility in acquiring & disposing of properties.
MAREIA represents the small investor
After the official presentation many attendees got up to make comments or ask questions. The small investor was well represented, as approximately 25 members of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Investors Association (MAREIA) showed up. Government affairs Committee Chairman Babara Klaput, President Alan Chantker, and myself all gave our feedback to the panel.
The City has done a good job of acquiring vacant properties. They own approximately 10,000 of the estimated 17,000 vacant properties in the city. However they have done a very poor job of getting them in the hands of capable renovators. This meeting makes me believe that will change, but that change will be slow in coming.