Akron and Summit County Land Bank interactive map lists lots for sale

The city and county land bank have teamed up to list properties for sale in Akron. The properties are still being loaded onto an interactive map hosted by software company Tolemi.

No one owns more empty lots in Akron than the city.

Based a review of county property records by the Beacon Journal, City Hall owns 1,341 empty lots in Akron — a figure the city says roughly matches its count. The Summit County Land Bank, formed in 2012 in response to the housing foreclosure crisis, owns another 572.

These 1,913 empty lots, appraised at $34.1 million, are worth more to the city than their taxable value.

If sold to responsible developers or neighbors or families who would build new homes on them, the lots could advance the city’s mission of equitable growth, using stable owner-occupied homes to help drive Akron’s population from 200,000 to 250,000 by 2050.

But as it stands, the city can’t get rid of these lots much faster than it gets new ones. With every home that is condemned, demolished, foreclosed on by banks and tax collectors or left on the public auction block, the portfolio of publicly owned and distressed properties grows.

It’s a problem that’s decades in the making but one that took off in 2005 at the beginning of local housing crisis, then accelerated with the ensuing foreclosures and demolitions. And now the city and the land bank have asked a tech company to help them return these dormant properties to productive use.