City rolls out plan to bring new life to vacant lots

New program to sell off vacant properties

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - There are around 7500 vacant and abandoned lots in Louisville. It's a statistic the city is working to slash drastically with a new property ownership program. There are three new options, all with the focus of improving spaces in need of some serious TLC.

Leaders said it all comes down to shining light on communities that are often overlooked.

The Louisville Metro Vacant and Public Property Administration or VPPA is behind the initiative. It currently owns about 400 vacant properties and buildings. To move those from metro's hands to those of citizens, the department has these three options:

Last Look Program:

•             Because VPPA uses demolition as a last resort, the Last Look program strives to provide an opportunity for buyers to rehab demolition candidates.
•             Previously, demolition candidates have not been available for acquisition.
•             All future demolition candidates will be a part of this 60-day program, which involves two phases — Save the Structure and Demo for Deed.
•             Throughout the first 30 days, a buyer may Save the Structure and acquire it by demonstrating proof of funds and committing to making exterior and structural renovations within 6 months and interior renovations within 18 months.
•             During the second 30 days, if no one has committed to rehabbing the structure, a buyer may Demo for Deed -- purchasing the property if they can show proof of funds to demolish the structure within 45 days.

About 55 structures are now available for sale under the Last Look program. Properties will be available to qualified candidates on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cut It, Keep It:  
•             This program allows a property owner to acquire a vacant lot for $500 if they agree to maintain it and pay property taxes for at least three years prior to selling it. The buyer may develop the lot themselves within three years, with approval.
•             To be eligible to acquire a vacant Landbank lot through Cut It Keep It, the buyer must own an occupied structure on the same block as the vacant lot.
•             Cut It, Keep It is designed to encourage neighborhood redevelopment by incentivizing neighbors to play an active role in the revitalization of their block.

New Flex Rate Policy:
•             This initiative is for buyers interested in purchasing a Landbank Authority-owned lot who have detailed plans to develop the lot but don't yet have the money to complete the work.
•             The goal of the program is to increase the pool of potential buyers by easing the prerequisites for eligibility.
•             Previously, vacant lots were available for purchase only by buyers with proof of funds to complete the project and a construction timeline.
•             Under the new program, properties will now be available for purchase by buyers with detailed development plans and an itemized budget for the project, even without proof of funds or a construction timeline.
•             Purchase prices vary depending on lot size and proof of funds, ranging from $500 to the assessed value of the property.
•             Buyers without proof of funds to complete the project will pay a slightly higher up-front cost for the property.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said this isn't just good for the economy, but also the safety and well-being of the community as a whole.

"If you live in a neighborhood where there's vacant and abandoned properties, that's bad for property values, number one. It can look bad if it's not kept up, and number three, it can be a haven for criminal activity, as well. Nobody deserves to live in a neighborhood like that. So, this program is going to help eliminate those properties,” Fischer said.

Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of a recent I-Team investigation from WHAS11’s John Charlton.  In that report, he profiled folks frustrated by a lack of resources for buying and restoring properties in their neighborhood.
This new plan is hoping to ease those concerns and create feasible options for the future. Here’s a link to that report:

http://www.whas11.com/news/investigations/iteam/huge-louisville-real-estate-deals-most-dont-know-about/476832695

To apply for any of the three programs, click here: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/vacant-public-property-administration/purchase-vacant-property-metro

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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