PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some 400 Philadelphia Housing Authority properties are on the block for a first-of-its-kind auction this afternoon in Center City.
The auction is designed to improve neighborhoods, but some neighborhood activists don’t like the way it’s being carried out.
Officials say they hope returning these surplus properties to private ownership will help eliminate neighborhood blight in two ways: the properties themselves will be renovated and their sale will generate funds for the PHA to improve the property it holds onto.
Neighborhood activists say they welcome improvement, but they’re disappointed the majority of the properties have been bundled, some in lots as large as 25.
Housing Authority executive director Michael Kelly says it’s the only way to assure a successful sale.
“The high market sites get packaged with the low market sites. If we sold the low market sites as individuals, we would not be able to sell all of those.”
Kelly says more sites will be sold individually at the next auction, December 7th. He expects some 200 bidders at the auction.
Auctioneer Bob Dann says interest has been high.
“Our auction information seminars have been well-attended by all kinds of people looking for one to multiple properties.”
He says sites close to Center City and near Temple University have generated the most interest.
Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060