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Vacants to Value Web Site Goes Live

A month or so back, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a new housing initiative called Vacants to Value that's supposed to get 1,500 of the city's abandoned houses renovated and occupied in the next year. As I reported a few weeks ago, that's like an order of magnitude better than her two predecessors did during the real estate bubble. Key to the new program is a user-friendly, one-stop shop for folks looking for real estate bargains. That web site, which Rawlings-Blake spokesman Ryan O'Doherty said would be "just like if you went to RE/MAX dot com,"  is up—the Vacants to Value site—but it's mostly still SCOPE listings—aka Selling City-Owned Property Efficiently, the partnership between the nonprofit Baltimore Efficiency and Economy Foundation and the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors—complete with the SCOPE listing agents. There are a grand total of 43 of them as of now—5 p.m. Dec. 6. Here is a typical one, chosen at random:

That's Vacants to Value's picture there too—just the outside. Google Street View would do no worse. The links are somewhat circuitous. The "How to Buy a City Owned Property" link brings you to a

that links in turn to the city's

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, from which one returns to Vacants to Value. You can e-mail the five new Marketing and Outreach Agents from the Land Resources page, however. They are:

—Central and South Districts

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—North and Northwest Districts

—North and Northeast Districts

—West and Southwest Districts

—East and Southeast Districts There's also

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detailing which marketing agent handles which neighborhoods. Meanwhile, some parts of the Vacants to Value site appear dated. "Project Finance" lands on a page listing

. Here's hoping this is a work in progress, with better things to come.

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