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April 22nd, 2021
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Residents Angry Over PHA Auctions, Bias Towards Investors

Posted on Nov 14 in Philly Newsby PrintText Resizer Text Resizer

Article From nbc10.com

By: Courtney Mimidis

A development plan created by the Philadelphia Housing Authority to auction 400 properties in North Philadelphia on November 16 has left many residents upset.  The plan bundles up to 25 properties for purchase, making it easy for large investors to buy but difficult for neighborhood residents who want to buy just one property.

According to an article on Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website, the PHA along with Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co., developed a bundling strategy for 386 of the properties, leaving only 14 available for individual purchase.

“I just want the one empty lot,” resident Betsy Esteves told Philadelphia Neighborhoods.  “What am I going to do with all these empty lots?”

The bundling plan makes it possible to offer “something for everyone,” according to Max Spann, CEO of Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Company. He says the bundling method is an effective way to accommodate the interests of individual home buyers as well as larger re-modelers and builders while being fiscally responsible.

PHA says the plan will return the properties to private owners, generate capital, and reduce blight throughout the city.  However, residents argue that the bundling strategy creates a real advantage for large investors but will make it difficult for people who want to buy just a single home or property.

“I want my neighborhood to go up, but I’m just saying [PHA is] putting this in the hands of investors.  That’s [going to] literally destroy the little people that have been living in Philadelphia, in their communities for years,” Yvonne McGough, a resident of the North Philadelphia neighborhood, told Philadelphia Neighborhoods.

According to Judith Robinson, a licensed real estate broker and North Philadelphia resident, there are many in the community, like Esteves, who want to buy, but cannot afford bundles of properties.

After complaints from angry residents, the PHA has set up a second auction on December 7, where they will sell off additional individual properties, though the number of properties has yet to be determined.

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