City plans to return vacant buildings | News, Sports, Jobs

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The city plans to create an inventory of commercial buildings that can be rehabilitated, and it plans to discuss establishing a formal process to manage the available properties it owns – and which have attracted the interest of potential buyers. , according to city manager Omar Strohm.

While driving in the city recently, Strohm was dismayed to see a significant number of vacant properties where businesses previously existed, he told city council this week.

“Lots of empty buildings” he said.

He discovered that Altoona Blair County Development Corp. had a partial list of these buildings.

It would be up to the city to create a complete list of structures that would be “Eligible and available for redevelopment” he said.

The effort has started, but it is in “the very early stages”, he said, and will require some field observations.

Once the list is complete, it could be integrated into the city’s geographic information system, he said.

It is a tool that those interested in redevelopment might find useful.

The city should have a formal process in place to sell the real estate plots it owns to ensure the city’s interests are served when they are sold, Strohm said.

The need came to him in connection with three vacant city-owned properties, including one near the main campus of the Altoona region school district, which the school district has made inquiries about, he said.

A formal process, which would include an appraisal, could help ensure the city does not accept payment for a property that is much smaller than the property’s value, Strohm said.

Mayor Matt Pacifico and Councilor Dave Butterbaugh agreed that a discussion might be appropriate for a council working session.

The proposed process would not apply to Blair County depot properties, the sale of which must be approved by the board, school district and Blair County, Strohm said.

These properties – those that were not purchased through the county’s thwarted and judicial tax sales – are managed by the county’s tax claims office.

Mirror staff writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038

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