Selling hundreds of abandoned buildings is Atlantic City's latest effort to raise money for its troubled finances and fight off a threatened state takeover.
Atlantic City plans to take possession of nearly 500 abandoned buildings and put them up for sale.
Mayor Don Guardian said Wednesday the city would use tax liens, emergency condemnation, or eminent domain proceedings to take control of the buildings and sell them to developers who would either repair or raze them.
Besides being a financial boost, the move could address a longstanding gripe among visitors about the seaside gambling resort.
"It has frustrated the community for decades that it seemed almost impossible to do anything about these abandoned properties," the mayor said.
Several months ago, the city enlisted six neighborhood associations to walk their communities and come up with a list of properties that appeared to be abandoned. The resulting list identified 598 properties. Since then, the owners of more than 100 of them have begun repair work on their structures after the city threatened to take possession of them, Guardian said.
The city differentiates between buildings in good shape that are simply currently vacant and properties in unsafe or uninhabitable condition, many of which have not generated taxes in months or years.
Guardian said he does not have a target figure in mind in terms of how much revenue the city might bring in by selling abandoned properties. But every little bit helps as it tries to cobble together a financial plan to stave off a threatened state takeover of its assets and major decision-making powers by next month.
The plan involves spending cuts, revenue increases and a proposal to have the city's water authority buy the former Bader Field airport property for up to $100 million to help pay down the city's debt and repay an emergency state loan.