Land bank has a full workload ahead


The Kent County Land Bank Authority is getting ready to sell five properties, has at least two more listed for sale, and has three renovation projects in the works. All are residences in Grand Rapids.

Local banks donated most of those 10 properties. Four are from last year’s tax-foreclosures and one was given to the land bank by an investor.

In addition, the land bank is redeveloping four vacant properties; one in Lowell and four in Grand Rapids. Two banks are planning to donate six properties in the near future.

“I think it’s kind of impressive,” said KCLBA Executive Director Dave Allen of the bank’s property list.

Two of the five ready-to-sell homes were set to close a few days ago, while the remaining three are scheduled to close by the end of this month. The land bank has remodeled the two listed properties. One is a three-bedroom, single-family home on Prospect Street SE with an asking price of $79,900.

The land bank will sell one of the three renovations to nonprofit Inner City Christian Federation and currently is working with a developer and buyer on another. The third is on hold until the title is cleared.

The Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids is close to buying one of the vacant properties on Carrier NE in Grand Rapids, while Habitat for Humanity has an interest in a parcel on Effie Place in Grand Rapids.

Bank of America has plans to donate two homes to the land bank. One is on Temple SE in Grand Rapids, and Allen said the house will be cleaned up and sold as is. The other is a mold-damaged house on Havana Avenue in Wyoming; the plan is to remediate and remodel it before it goes on the market.

Chase Bank is scheduled to turn over three homes and a large piece of land in Kent City to KCLBA. The homes are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Grandville.

The Grandville property on West Prairie is a 100-year-old farmhouse that was converted into a three-unit residence. Allen said the land bank will transform the building into a single-family home and enter it in the Fall Parade of Homes put on by the Home and Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids. “It’s not ready for a spec home, but it’s close,” he said.

“There are some beautiful homes in that part of town,” said County Commissioner Stan Ponstein, also a KCLBA board member. Ponstein represents Grandville on the county commission.

The land bank reported sales proceeds of $175,900 in April. Last year, KCLBA sold 42 properties for $961,574; property donations made to the agency were worth $50,500. An audit showed the land bank finished 2012 with a surplus of $276,134.

The economic impact of the land bank’s property sales last year was estimated at $4.5 million. That figure included construction contracts, sales commissions and payments to local units of government.

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