PlanPhilly

Real Estate Development

    • A Philadelphia judge owned this rowhome at 1514 N. Hollywood St. bought the adjacent vacant lots from the city to use as sideyards. He then sold all three properties. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Troubled city land sale office facing takeover after scandals

A once-obscure city office that critics link to Philadelphia’s pay-to-play political culture will soon be taken over by the Philadelphia Land Bank, according to a memorandum of understanding obtained by PlanPhilly.…

    •  Developer Ken Weinstein at a lot he tried to purchase from the city in Philadelphia’s Wayne Junction neighborhood. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

How City Council broke Philly’s app for selling blighted land

When developer Ken Weinstein wanted to buy two vacant lots from the city of Philadelphia, he went online. The city has an app for selling off its thousands of unused publicly…

    • Comcast will not pay property taxes on the value of its soaring 1.2 billion Technology Center until 2027 thanks to the 10-year  abatement. (Comcast)

Domb proposes 10-year tax abatement reform

After more than a year of sharp debate over Philadelphia’s 10-year property tax abatement, City Councilman Allan Domb has introduced legislation to shrink — but not substantially change — the controversial…

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ABOUT REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT

Though it often has a negative connotation, development represents the absolutely crucial element of demand to use the urban form. Once completed, the development project ends up helping to define the built environment for future generations. Without development, there would be no city to plan. Despite the stigma often attached to it, development can meet both community needs and earn a profit when its design and program contributes to the larger urban framework.

It is important that development be regulated so that it supports the public health, safety, and welfare of a neighborhood, though this can be difficult to achieve today given the pressures facing the public sector due to rising social services needs and decreasing tax bases. Private developers often have leverage in these cases, which can lead to some unhealthy compromises that negatively affect our built environment. It is possible for development to be over-regulated, which often discourages investors from investing in particular cities. Philadelphia is often seen as a city that has outdated local controls, which in turn delays the development approval process. However, the re-zoning process currently underway by the Zoning Code Commission should go a long way in addressing this.  The goal is to set standards that encourage a balance of public good and private development.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT

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