City struggles with vacant properties


The Kansas City Land Bank sells properties, but runs in place as new ones from tax sales replace them.

In two years of operation, it has closed sales of 158 properties and has 85 more under contract, Land Bank Director Ted Anderson reported Tuesday to the mayor and city manager.

But the bank gets mostly “undesirable” properties from tax sales at a rate of 500 a year, he said, and has to sell 40 a month to break even.

Last month, it hit 39 sales for the first time.

Meanwhile, Anderson said, it carries an inventory of about 850 structures (out of about 6,000 citywide) and about 3,000 vacant lots (out of about 18,000 citywide).

Many of the properties are in the east side along highways, Anderson said. “Where our highways run through Kansas City, it has decimated our housing stock.”

He said one option being considered is to plant trees and create buffer zones in the many sites along the highways.

Mayor Sly James asked, “Does that become land the parks department has to take care of?”

City Manager Troy Schulte said, “We need to be a little careful in moving to that approach.”

He suggested parcels along Bruce R. Watkins and Prospect could be used for new multifamily housing.

East of Prospect, he said, the options for any use become fewer and the city may be in a “long term hold business.”

Still, things could be worse and are elsewhere, officials reported.

Baltimore has 16,400 vacant houses in its 92 square miles compared to the Kansas City total of less than 6,000 in 319 square miles.

One Comment

  1. kcjeffro says:

    How much in Detroit?

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