Santurce Set to Create First Community Land Bank
The Sagrado Corazon Community Council asked the Puerto Rico Senate on Wednesday to help create a Community Land Bank (CLB) in Santurce so residents can deal with the community’s high number of abandoned city and business properties.
Land banking is the practice of aggregating parcels of land for future sale or development. While in many countries, land banking may refer to various private real-estate investment schemes, in the United States it actually refers to the establishment of quasi-governmental county or municipal authorities purposed with managing an inventory of properties or land.
Nelson Rodríguez, legal adviser to the Council, told Caribbean Business that if implemented, Santurce would be the first Puerto Rican area to become a CLB. Following the appropriation of numerous properties in early 2000 and the fiscal crisis, Santurce has lost numerous businesses and residents over the years.
The CLB aspires to be self-funded with faculties to acquire, rehabilitate and, in some extreme cases, demolish properties.
“This is a great thing for us,” Rodríguez said.
The proposed CLB disposition is already contained in Senate Bill 1556, the Law for the Economic, Social and Cultural Revitalization of Santurce, which provides for numerous incentives to bring growth to the area.
The proposed bill urges the city of San Juan to create the non-profit CLB with the goal of dealing with the development and properties in the area. The CLB will be authorized to issue bonds or donations or seek federal funding to pursue its goals.