Philadelphia Auctions Off Hundreds of Seized Tax-Delinquent Properties

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than 180 formerly delinquent properties may soon be generating taxes again, now that the City of Philadelphia has put them on the auction block.

Officials say it’s the most efficient method of generating the highest number of potential bidders and the most revenue.

Ninety percent of the properties were vacant lots.  Developer Bob Feller spied one on East Sergeant Street.

“It was a property in an area that is really starting to come around,” Feller said today.

Opening bid prices started around $2,500 for properties in the First Councilmanic District, covering parts of South Philadelphia, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and Port Richmond.

Some fixer-uppers attracted two or three bidders in the $7,000 range.  But then there were some frenetic moments too, with dozens of back-and-forth bids.

Feller joined that Sergeant Street bidding at $50,000, and his winning bid was $65,000.

“The Sergeant Street property is where I think the development is moving to,” he said afterward.  “We like it.”

And, it was a corner lot.

“Yeah, exactly,” Feller acknowledged with a smile.

Organizers also hope that selling the properties will breathe new life into the neighborhoods in which they’re situated.

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