President’s Message from Gus Frangos: The Land Bank and Firsts
Here at the Cuyahoga Land Bank, we are honored to claim many national "firsts."
The Cuyahoga Land Bank was the first entity of its kind capable of integrating profound tax foreclosure reforms and a leveragable funding stream, all in a highly efficient, non-profit enterprise possessing extraordinary transactional capabilities.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank remains the only bulk repository of vacant and abandoned properties with functioning bulk agreements with FNMA and HUD. This has resulted in a significant slow down of “flipping” and speculative trafficking in low value, abandoned properties in Cuyahoga County. We have also established similar agreements with several banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is the first enterprise capable of receiving tax and private foreclosed, abandoned properties directly without sheriff’s auctions. This allows properties to be more responsibly moth-balled and repositioned for rehabilitation or demolition. These abandoned properties have gone through cycles of tax foreclosure and abandonment, and speculative trafficking which literally terrorized large sections of the region. When homes can be moth-balled and conveyed to responsible rehabbers, the Cuyahoga Land Bank promotes this. In cases where the homes are completely stripped, vandalized and unsecured, the Cuyahoga Land Bank demolishes these hazardous nuisances once they come into its inventory.
As of this writing, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has received over 1,000 abandoned properties, has conveyed several hundred vacant lots to the applicable city land banks, and caused rehabilitations of nearly 100 properties, while the remaining inventory is slated either for demolition, rehabilitation or creative re-use.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is also on the cutting edge of data research. It will be the first entity that will possess the capability of 'scrubbing' multiple databases in real time, in a manner that is spatially interactive. A higher level of spatial intentionality will be available to help shape and define acquisition/disposition strategy, and provide accountability as to why Property A was acquired as opposed to Property B.
We pride ourselves on our innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, as we seek to fulfill our mission to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals and improve the quality of life in Cuyahoga County. Continue to expect firsts from the Cuyahoga Land Bank.