Since its founding, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority has been involved in nearly every major development in the City. Historically, we’ve been the agent to gather the land for those developments and, in some cases, be a conduit for funding. However, like Redevelopment Authorities across the Commonwealth and across the country, the PRA’s role is shifting. Changes in state law have made it more difficult for the government to acquire private property for economic development purposes. The advent of the Philadelphia Land Bank, a welcome addition to the City, provides another tool for the purchase and sale of property. Cuts in federal funding have seen the agency shrink from 350 employees in the 1980s to 65 in 2014.
All of these factors are forcing the PRA to adapt to its new environment. While we continue to underwrite city subsidies for affordable housing, we’ve added other financing products to facilitate to development. We have partnered with other government agencies to acquire property on their behalf and have engaged in our own development efforts. We’re taking on the coordination of the City’s brown field efforts and plan to pilot a commercial corridor program. None of these activities have been traditional PRA roles but all of them are vital functions for the City’s success. While what the PRA does is changing; why we do it remains constant.
The PRA is focused on community revitalization. Our job is to facilitate development and support neighborhoods. We are a sharp tool to implement the City’s policies and our staff is committed to the City’s growth, its prosperity and to improving our residents’ quality-of-life.
Thank you for your interest in the Redevelopment Authority. We hope to be able to answer your questions, provide the information you need and offer the services you have requested. We look forward to working with you.
Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority