PHA will auction off about 200 vacant houses

Posted: June 20, 2013

CITY COUNCIL President Darrell Clarke stood in front of a boarded-up house owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority yesterday and said he hopes a new PHA auction will restore worn-down neighborhoods around the city.

"I remember how nice it used to be," Clarke said to a gathering of reporters and residents in North Philadelphia.

Clarke had come to Marston Street near Diamond for the announcement that PHA will hold an auction of 200 properties on July 16. The auction will take place at 10 a.m. at the First District Plaza, 3801 Market St.

PHA has teamed up again with Max Spann Real Estate and Auction Co. to conduct the auction of properties throughout the city.

Bidders won't have to appear in person but can take part online, said Max Spann Jr., president of the auction company. A list of the properties and an information package on each one is available at the Max Spann website at

There will also be three pre-auction seminars June 26, July 2 and July 9, each from noon to 3 p.m. at Greater Grays Ferry Estates, 1800 S. 32nd St.

Kelvin Jeremiah, president and chief executive of the housing agency, said proceeds from the auction will help pay for renovations of other PHA properties. More than 140,000 Philadelphians are on a waiting list for housing, Jeremiah said.

The properties to be auctioned in July will be sold individually and not in lots of 10, 20 or 30 houses, as they were at the first auction with Max Spann in November 2011. Some Philadelphians criticized the bundling as a way to make it easier for developers to buy the PHA-owned homes, rather than longtime residents.

Jeremiah said PHA earned $6.4 million from the sale of more than 340 houses at that auction. A second auction about a month later sold an additional 100 PHA homes.

Gloria Nicholson, who lives next door to the empty PHA house on Marston, said she is glad the property will be bought and improved.

"The bricks are falling in," she said.

Another neighbor said at least two people fell through the deteriorated kitchen floor when the house was occupied years ago.

On Twitter: @ValerieRussDN

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