Demolition should be starting soon on 19 homes owned by the Griffin Spalding Land Bank Authority.

Land Bank Executive Director John Joiner told the board of directors that he has titles back on 19 of the properties, “which should clear out all the ones that need to be demolished.”

The Land Bank had to get clear title to the properties before they could be demolished. Most were purchased at county tax sales with a few others donated.

The ones purchased at tax sales had a 12-month right of redemption for the previous owner to pay the taxes and get the property back. There was also another 30 days’ notice for those owners once the Land Bank decided to foreclose, plus the legal fees including the notices and title searches before the Land Bank could take ownership and demolish or fix up the properties.

Joiner said none are being offered for sale. He told the Land Bank board of directors, they will be “going through demo.”

The Land Bank has an agreement with the City of Griffin to demolish the properties within the city, so city crews will be taking the properties down, once asbestos and environmental studies are completed, and abatement done, if necessary. Joiner said there are six applications for demolition currently, on properties including six foreclosures and one donation, that are in the process of environmental review.

The Land Bank also awarded four bids to make repairs to properties it had purchased with federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds and accepted a bid to purchase one of the homes already fixed up. Homes purchased with NSP funds have stipulations on them include they must be sold as owner occupied homes and can only be sold for appraised price of the property, even if that means it is sold at loss.

The Land Bank approved the sale on one of those homes on Elm Street for $15,000, minus commission and closing costs, bringing net sales proceeds to $13,100. The Land Bank spent $58,270 on the home including purchase price of $12,615 plus cleanup and repairs, but it still only appraised at $15,000.

The Land Bank is obligated to fix up the homes it purchased with NSP funds. The four bids were awarded to local contractors fix up homes. The properties included homes on East Chappell Street, Park Circle, Waterford Way and Cherokee Circle, with awarded bids ranging from $14,300 to $37,321, with only one of the four possibly being able to eventually be appraised and not sold at a loss.

“When it defies financial logic,” said Land Bank Chairman Newton Galloway, “we are following the NSP protocols.”

Galloway explained the properties “were purchased at x, we spend y to fix them up, and it ends up being valued (appraised) at less than x or y.”

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