Government Affairs

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

School Repurposing

As a result of widespread budget cuts, schools throughout Philadelphia have been forced to consolidate their classes and empty out of buildings, leaving their former homes as vacant lots in neighborhoods. The situation becomes one in which neither the city nor the school district can draw property taxes or other revenue generating income. Currently, Philadelphia is home to 24 vacant school properties—land that should be a large asset but instead drain the city’s coffers.  GPAR believes that holding onto vacated buildings is fiscally untenable and the revenue acquired from the sale of these properties would greatly help offset the school district’s continual budget deficit.  We also believe it is important that these properties are sold at the best possible price for the best possible use.  Last year, we initiated discussion with members of City Council to outline our recommendations for the reuse of some of these properties, including comprehensive appraisals, conversions into into residential housing, college/university “feeders,” and/or commercial office space. GPAR believes that repurposing these schools presents an opportunity to turn abandoned sites into financial opportunities that will simultaneously eliminate blight, revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods, and create jobs.  We continue to work with City Council and the mayoral administration to make this plan a reality.