New law looks to revitalize vacant homes in Newark

A new law hopes to take on abandoned, dilapidated homes in Newark and create what are being called “land banks”.

The law allows nonprofits or public entities to obtain vacant homes or empty lots and revitalize them into something that can benefit the area, like affordable housing. The bill also would apply to commercial properties. 

“So you should think of a land bank as a coin dispenser,” said Bernel Hall, CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation. “Basically, we’re aggregating properties that have sat vacant, blighted and abandoned for many years in such a way in which we’re moving them back to productive use at a faster pace than currently possible.”

Hall says the first transformations will take place in Newark’s West and South Wards, areas hit hard by economic distress. 

“We hope that private and public partners pick up the ball with us and run forward together,” Hall said.