Anyone got $7,000,000 to send to Brooklyn?

Anyone got $7,000,000 to send to Brooklyn?

You know, it's one thing to talk on here about what the opportunities are in Philadelphia, but you know what kills me? The obvious opportunities that no one is doing anything about. The clearest example of this is good properties in neighborhoods that no one is doing anything with.

Case in point, this building, just north of Chinatown and some brand new condos, across the street from what appears to be a desirable apartment building and right next to a sweet car audio store and a homey breakfast nook called "Jany's." It's sold for $7M at the end of 2005 and sat through the whole condo boom. Now the boom is over and it still it sits, blotting out the skyline for the up-and-coming neighborhood just north of there, between Brown and Spring Garden.

I looked it up online, and it's owned by someone in Brooklyn. Now, while you could almost refurbish it as a museum to the "Art of Urban Tagging," I can't help but think that a great big building that's a ten minute walk from Reading Terminal and Downtown fun (yes, it really is... I walk it all the time) could be put to better use.

What's the hold up? Is it zoning trouble or a lazy owner? What can the city do to get properties like this moving? I don't know if you've checked out Chinatown north of Race recently, but the area is a buzzing light industrial zone. North of Vine, we could complement it with mixed use commercial and residential use to, I think, very nice effect.

But someone has to have the will to and the capital to get the project going. I wish someone would.

1) BRT can make sure the

1) BRT can make sure the property is properly assessed. If it is assessed at the correct value in a booming area, property tax bills will help encourage development.

2) Violations. The City needs to make sure it is safe and has no violations. Racking up violation fines and threats of condemnation will help encourage development.

Outside of that, it's their property and if they want to pay $7 million and the yearly property tax to sit on it, it is their right.

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"yes adam gave some informative comments but he also seems to sprinkle a little adam dust on it." - merkin

Or, it could be the Sam Rappaport strategy

Remember, under Philadelphia law, the more a building deteriorates, the lower its valuation, and, therefore, the lower the tax paid on it. So, every year that the owner allows the building to get more and more dilapidated, the city rewards him/her w/a lower tax bill. Eventually someone will get tired of seeing a blighted building in a flourishing area and pay whatever exorbitant price the owner demands just for the right to demolish it. This is precisely how Sam Rappaport handled his collection of blighted buildings in Center City.

-Z

That is why they shouldn't

That is why they shouldn't valuate based on condition, but square footage, location and otehr such criteria. That way, people who do upkeep aren't penalized and those that don't , do not get a bonus.
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"yes adam gave some informative comments but he also seems to sprinkle a little adam dust on it." - merkin

It's called 'land value taxation'

As I understand it, the idea behind land value taxation is that it is the land itself which is being assessed, not the property built on it. Or, as Wikipedia puts it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_value_taxation):

'LVT is an ad valorem tax [a tax based on the value of real estate or personal property] where only the value of land is taxed, ignoring improvements to the land (e.g., houses, factories, ...) and personal property (e.g., cars, furnishings, ...). This is different from other property taxes which generally tend to fall on real estate--the combination of land and improvements to land.'

In other words, under current Philly law, if you buy a run-down house in a nice neighborhood + fix it up, the City punishes you w/a higher tax bill, and if you buy a nice house in that same neighborhood + let it go to pot, the City rewards you w/a tax break.

Under LVT, people who improve houses are not penalized for doing so, + the Sam Rappaports of the world aren't rewarded for letting their properties rot.

As I understand it, Jonathan Saidel is very much in favor of moving the City's property tax structure to LVT, but I'm not sure what would have to happen to allow such a change. Perhaps a Charter change.

-Z

LVT is a possible solution,

LVT is a possible solution, but it would be tough getting enough people on board with it. It is far from an agreed upon method.

The reason I made my recommendation is that it can easily be incorporated into the current system. Just remove any "condition" modifiers to the valuation.
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"yes adam gave some informative comments but he also seems to sprinkle a little adam dust on it." - merkin

The thing is...

... that what you describe is pretty close to LVT, with the exception being that it would not discourage flat ground-level parking lots the way LVT does. Ground level parking lots get killed under LVT, + justifiably so, IMNSFTHO.

Go ahead, ask what the acronym means,
-Z

I know. But a lot of

I know. But a lot of changing legislation is "what's in a name".

As a legislator, would you find it easier to say "we're removing modifiers on condition of property" or "we are changing the system to a different process".

Heck, the full market value process is just a glorified assessment rebalancing, but it is labeled as a "new system" so it gets debated to death and sits idle for years.

Sometimes it is just easier to keep a current system and strip the parts off.

And no, I am not going to ask. ;)
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"yes adam gave some informative comments but he also seems to sprinkle a little adam dust on it." - merkin

What's the acronym mean?

I admit it. I don't know.

"It Might Not Seem Fair Though"???

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BradyDale OnLine
The R.I.I.C. Blog
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project

In My Not So Honest

In My Not So [insert][insert] Honest Opinion.
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"yes adam gave some informative comments but he also seems to sprinkle a little adam dust on it." - merkin

Ah, but I am the Man of Truth!

As the Man of Truth, I only say the truth!

The acronym is 'in my not so f---ing terribly humble opinion.'

Or something,
-Z

Not to Worry

I guarantee that the next round round of the center city boom, it will be bought up & converted into condos (Unless the current owner is brain dead)

That depends

If the 'bones' of the building are in decent shape, then you're probably correct that it's ripe for condo conversion, esp. given its location. If, on the other hand, the building's bones- foundation + walls, especially- aren't in good shape, I can easily see the building's current owners holding out until someone pays their price to take the building off their hands + replace it w/a surface parking lot.

Sad, but possible,
-Z

I've often wondered about that building

as I've looked for parking space before heading off for a nice bowl of Pho.

It just amazes me that it hasn't been converted into some ultra-cool loft spaces for the hipster types who hang out at YPP. Real estate like that - so close to the central part of the city - should be in very high demand (as it would be in Boston, for example).

On an interesting note, however, I have seen some renovation activity taking place recently on the magnificant buildings on 33rd Street (a bit north of Girard); that's another area where the continued deterioration of real estate defies logic and is nothing short of criminal neglect.

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