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For Sale: Phoenix’s Latest Tool To Unload City-Owned Vacant Lots

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
For the first time Phoenix is listing city-owned properties for sale on its website.

For the first time, Phoenix is listing city-owned properties for sale on its website. It’s part of an effort to unload land the city doesn’t plan to use while generating one-time revenue.

At last count, Phoenix had identified nearly 500 vacant parcels.  Cities acquire lots for a variety of reasons: to make way for light rail, street shoulders, and future parks among others. 

Earlier this month, the city launched an online mapping tool, which features 115 parcels for sale. Visitors can sort properties by ZIP code, council district, address, price and square footage. Each property has a brochure with land details and location highlights. 

During a recent subcommittee meeting, Neighborhood Services Director Chris Hallett told council members his department has about 300 properties.

“We spend about $50 a lot per month to maintain those properties, predominantly use general funds,” he said. “So, that’s costing us $15,000 per month just for those that could be saved once these are redeveloped.”   

Deputy City Manager Paul Blue told council members getting rid of unneeded parcels will save not only in maintenance costs but also potential lawsuits. 

“Whether it’s as simple as slip and fall or other kinds of things that are not imaginable that occur,” he said. “When things that we aren’t using or don’t have a near term use it is better to, in some cases it is better for us to not have those.”

Since June 2014, he said Phoenix has sold 131 parcels, collecting $17.8 million. The online sales list is expected to grow. Phoenix estimates it owns 5,500 parcels and staffers have only evaluated 1,000.

Property Review Team Update

Parcels Reviewed

  • 1,000 out of 5,500 parcels

Excess Property Inventory

  • 490

Parcels Disposed (since June 2014)

  • 131

Revenue from Sales 

  • $17.8 million

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.