The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that Fannie Mae, a player in the national secondary mortgage market and unwitting owner of numerous abandoned properties in the Greater Cleveland area, has reached a deal with the newly formed Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation to sell properties to it for $1 each.

Compared with our last report here, the deal represents a significant step forward for the Landbank which until now had acquired approximately 20 properties with 60 more under evaluation. The first set of transfers from Fannie Mae will consist of 25 properties, 24 of which have homes on them that will likely need to be demolished. Fannie Mae has agreed to pay up to $3500 of demolition costs on each property.  

Going forward, Fannie will essentially provide the Landbank with a purchase option on any foreclosed properties valued at under $25,000. The Landbank will have 30 days to evaluate the properties for acquisition prior to them being listed on the wider market. 


In other Landbank developments, the Board of Directors will consider authorizing a line of credit with KeyBank at its December 18, 2009 meeting. The credit line would go up to $7.5 million and would be a significant portion of the $15 million in financing the Landbank is looking to generate in 2010. 


Both the Fannie Mae deal and the Landbank’s new financing options demonstrate that the bank has substantive long-term plans to redevelop established Cleveland neighborhoods. The Landbank has already been cited by experts as a national model for addressing lingering problems from the foreclosure crisis. In the near future, once the influx of abandoned properties have gone through the demolition and cleanup process, there should be a substantial opportunity for investors and nonprofit organizations to take the lead in transforming once-residential space into new neighborhood uses.