Cities and counties across the country and in our region are exploring land banks as a promising strategy for addressing vacant properties. This five-part series on land banking on MPC’s blog, The Connector, is intended to inform policymakers and practitioners in northeastern Illinois and other regions—most notably in Cook County—as they explore options for addressing the vacant and abandoned buildings crisis.
Each time a new post is added, we will update this homepage, www.metroplanning.org/landbanks. Please bookmark this page as a resource.
Twin Cities Community Land Bank
The Twin Cities Community Land Bank LLC (TCC Land Bank) is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) created in 2009 by the Family Housing Fund, a nonprofit established in 1980 to produce and preserve affordable housing in Minnesota. In creating TCC Land Bank, the Family Housing Fund used the Minnesota Foreclosure Partners Council, a regional, collaborative effort to address the foreclosure crisis as a precursor to forming TCC Land Bank. TCC Land Bank includes the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as the surrounding cities and counties in the seven-county metropolitan area. The land bank is the community coordinator for the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST), a national nonprofit organization that helps communities access solutions to rebuild strong and stable neighborhoods. It operates through providing efficient and streamlined access to vacant and abandoned properties from financial institutions and flexible financing for neighborhood stabilization activities. Minneapolis has approximately 15,000 vacant housing units according to U.S. Census Bureau.
As part of its strategy to encourage neighborhood recovery, TCC Land Bank supports a property acquisition program in coordination with the NCST that facilitates the transfer of distressed properties at reduced prices to approved developers. In addition, TCC Land Bank also holds properties for both short and long periods of time for future development and provides property maintenance according to a set agreement. The land bank also is involved in community lending. As a CDFI, the land bank collaborates with other organizations to provide a variety of loan products (see below) and grants. It provides loans to finance nonprofit and for-profit developer partners in the construction of sustainable, affordable housing in low-income communities. In addition, loans are made for the purchase and rehab of single-family and multifamily properties. TCC Land Bank also provides homebuyers with financial assistance to purchase homes. Grants are provided to community groups and nonprofit organizations for environmental assessments and remediation. The land bank also advances mixed-use development and transit-oriented development by providing loans to developers to help fund the expansion and growth of transit corridors.
Maintaining sufficient lending capital is a concern for the land bank as much of this capital is borrowed. Funding for TCC Land Bank is also provided by several revenue streams: interest and fees from loans, property acquisition fees, operating grants and contracts for service. In the future, it would like to derive funding from land banking and property management fees. The Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from nonprofit, government, and financial organizations. TCC Land Bank acquires foreclosed properties by purchasing from banks or receiving donations.
TCC Land Bank acquired and disposed of 271 single and multifamily properties on behalf of 60 developers and city and county governments by June 2011. Its loan products helped finance a variety of developments:
- Nonprofit Neighborhood Recovery Loan Program committed $2.64 million to 3 developers with 23 properties financed.
- Foreclosure Recovery Loan Program committed $6.7 million to five developers with 50 properties financed.
- Mini-perm Loan Program committed $450,000 to one developer to finance five multifamily affordable rental properties.
- New Construction Loan Program committee $200,000 to one developer to finance LEED-certified single-family home.
- Interim Acquisition Loan Program committed eight interim acquisition loans and two land banking loans for six developers and one city.
- Commercial Loan Program committed $500,000 for three projects along transit/commercial corridors in the Twin Cities.
- 11 properties were land banked on behalf of three nonprofit developers, two for-profit developers, and one city.