Milestone caps four years of repurposing distressed properties across Wayne County
DETROIT, MI - The Wayne County Land Bank, a local authority that owns and manages distressed public properties across Wayne County, has recently returned more than 1,500 properties to productive use since 2016. The milestone reflects an achievement in the Land Bank's effort to combat blight and promote community stabilization in Wayne County.
Of the 2,701 properties obtained or owned by the Land Bank over the past four years, the vast majority have been significantly distressed: most were tax-foreclosed, unsold at the Wayne County Treasurer's annual foreclosure auction, and then rejected by their local communities. The Land Bank team now has a return rate of 56% with these 1,500 unwanted properties.
"We are extremely pleased with this progress," said Daniel Rosenbaum, the Land Bank's Executive Director. "When a blighted, vacant, and publicly-owned property gets rehabbed and returned to the tax rolls, the improvement extends throughout the neighborhood. Just one maintained yard or rehabbed home can be a catalyst that helps stabilize an entire block."
Most of the 1,500 properties have been sold and revitalized through two core programs: the Side Lot Program, which has successfully repurposed 408 properties, and the Rehabilitation Program, which has seen 761 properties completed to date.
The Side Lot Program is designed to turn vacant, publicly-owned, and tax-foreclosed properties into yards, driveways, and gardens for Wayne County residents. Under the program, the Land Bank identifies suitable lots and contacts nearby residents who may be eligible to purchase them at a significantly discounted price, often as low as $250. If the neighbor is interested, the Land Bank operates a streamlined process that can deliver a deed to the new owner in a matter of days.
The Side Lot Program has reinvigorated vacant parcels in cities and townships across Wayne County. To date, the Land Bank has successfully sold 172 side lots in Highland Park, 57 in Romulus, 50 in River Rouge, and 21 in Dearborn Heights.
Through the Rehabilitation Program, which was rolled out in December 2016, the Land Bank works with responsible homebuyers to ensure that blighted properties are secured, that their exteriors are cleaned up, and that any broken windows, doors, entranceways, walls or roofing get fixed. These fixes all promote the safety and marketability of the surrounding neighborhood.
In addition to its Side Lot Program and Rehabilitation Program, the Wayne County Land Bank also spearheads several other initiatives to rehabilitate distressed properties in Wayne County, including the Nuisance Abatement Program, Porch Rehab Project, Demolition Project, and Quiet Title Program, all guided by the Land Bank's core mission of advancing community stabilization in Metro Detroit.