5/30/2012 - Philadelphia Redevelopment Authoritys Front Door Database
Date: 5/30/12
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) has opened a limited version of its Front Door database, which is available on PRAs website. Front Door is a database and map of the citys property holdings. The database/website also has a streamlined sales process. Currently, the database contains 9,000 city owned properties and provides a web-form for qualified buyers to initiate purchase of any city lot.

According to the Nutter Administration, the Front Door database will provide one source for City owned properties that are for sale. Prior to Front Door, buyers were forced to navigate through Philadelphias many land-holding agencies to find listings for available city owned properties. Furthermore, the many land-holding agencies have their own policies, directives, and politics making the process of purchasing city owned properties difficult and time consuming. The Front Door database and its subsequent purchasing process are governed by one policy document, which should prove beneficial to potential buyers.

Other benefits include; enhanced marketing of city owned properties, decrease time to acquire title to city properties (estimated decrease of 2 months), buyers can track purchasing process online, and more. Another important note, the new Front Door system will end holds on properties. Prior to Front Door, city land-owning agencies could set aside properties for developers or non-profit groups. Getting a hold will be more difficult and involve a standardized process.

A feature that is going to be implemented to the database over the next few weeks is up front pricing. In the past, bidders would not know the price of a property until an appraiser was consulted near the end of the purchasing process.

Philadelphia has an estimated 40,000 vacant properties and more than 12,000 are owned by the City. Vacant and blighted buildings depress property value, attract crime, inhibit neighborhood/community growth, and create other safety risks (Buck Hosiery Building Fire). The Front Door system should help mitigate Philadelphias problem with vacant and blighted properties.

Below is a link to the PRAs Front Door database:

http://secure.phila.gov/paplpublicweb/

NOTES:

1. Front Door does not list private properties, Philadelphia Housing Authority properties, or Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation properties

2. Formal Launch will not be until next month (June), current version is like a soft opening
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