ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - Home, sweet home! It’s a special Christmas for three young people who have a new home thanks to the Albany County Land Bank. The Land Bank was also presented with $250,000 check from Albany County Executive Dan McCoy Thursday.
For seven years the building sat vacant, but it’s been remodeled and now a young couple is home for the holidays.
“It’s our first home; our first Christmas in the home,” said Rob Field.
Blighted properties abound in Albany, but what was old is new again on Kenosha Street.
“We went in to this thinking we would need $100,000 dollars to buy a place. It was going to put us back ten years,” said Field.
Rob Field and girlfriend Allison Whitman were able to buy a two-family home on the cheap through the Albany County Land Bank. The Land Bank sells tax foreclosed properties for very little, hoping the new owners will fix them up them, and start paying taxes on them.
“A lot of bad things are created by vacant and abandoned properties and that’s why we want to make sure that we return them back to productive use responsibly,” said Adam zaranko, executive director of the Albany County Land Bank.
After a rehab investment and a whole lot of sweat equity, the young couple – along with a downstairs tenant— have a place to call home.
“It just feels so comforting, and homey, and it’s warm and it’s clean and tidy,” said Whitman.
There’s a lot of interest from developers with an income property like this one but the land bank board of directors can pick and choose which buyer will improve the neighborhood as a whole.
“We also want to give an opportunity and a leg up to someone who otherwise might not have the opportunities to get their first home behind them,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.
Right now, the land bank has up to 500 properties in inventory with some homes costing as low as $8,000. The 24-year-olds say young people should not be afraid to invest in their communities. Even Santa Claus was on hand to congratulate the new home owners who have plenty of new Christmas memories to make.