Seeing dollar signs City plans redevelopment

The city has decided it will sell five city-owned vacant lots, and Mayor Brian Stack has identified other privately-owned properties currently in disrepair that can be redeveloped to increase revenues.

With the city’s residents still suffering from the more than $3 million tax increase they experienced this year, this news could not have come at a better time.

When Stack took office three months ago, he made the city’s finances and redevelopment two of his top priorities as mayor. Now, he says, he is making good on that promise.

The sale of the city-owned properties and a resolution authorizing a block study on the privately-owned properties were both passed at the city’s Board of Commissioners meeting on Feb. 6.

Holding vacant property

The city-owned lots that were found vacant left the mayor asking, “why hold them?

“Some of these properties have been held for five or six years,” said Stack. “Look at the taxes we have lost over the years.”

With the sale of these lots, the city will generate revenues and taxes after the property is developed.

“This is a win-win situation,” said Stack. “The city will receive revenue on the sale and the property will be put back on the tax rolls.”

These lots, on 27th Street and Central Avenue, Fifth and West streets, 47th Street and Broadway, Third Street and Manhattan Avenue and 14th Street and Manhattan Avenue will be put up for sale and developed.

“One of these properties is right on the cliffs,” said Stack, who added that the city may solicit private developers to put a 20-unit apartment complex on the property on 14th Street and Manhattan Avenue. “There is no way of obstructing that view,” he added.

Stack said that he is still looking for more properties to develop.

“We want to take any city-owned property and put [it] on the tax rolls,” said Stack. “We are not going to hold property anymore.”

Redeveloping the city

More properties were discovered as areas in need of redevelopment. These include the Yardley property on Seventh Street and Palisade Avenue; three lots on 33rd and Hudson streets that once held the Swiss Townhouse building, the Italian Community Center, and Peter’s Brewery; and a lot on Fourth Street and Palisade Avenue. All will be the subject of a block study for redevelopment.

“We want to do a further study for possible development on these properties,” said Stack.

A planning consultant will decide what kind of development will have the best impact on the city.

While the city does not own the properties, the study can help the owners of the properties develop them, which would mean more tax dollars for the city. The results of the study would go to the Planning Board and the city’s Redevelopment Agency so that these bodies can consider altering zoning laws for the areas.

“There are good ratables to bring in [in these properties],” said Stack. “These will be good sensible development.”

Stack, who is also the chairman of the Planning Board, said, “This is going to move pretty quickly.”


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