Trenton partnered with government software company, GovPilot to host online real estate auction in effort to reduce blight and provide homeownership opportunities
Initiative seen as replicable in municipalities across the country to revitalize communities and bolster city budgets
TRENTON, NJ., December 10, 2020 - In an effort to revitalize the city, promote affordable housing options, and generate revenue, New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton, yesterday hosted a live online auction of residential and commercial properties.
The auction, hosted in partnership with GovPilot, a Hoboken, New Jersey based government management software provider, saw all 49 listed properties receive winning bids - generating $4.153 million in revenue for the city once sales are finalized. Upon approval, property owners will commit to a five-year owner occupied requirement.
Trenton’s Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED), seeking effective ways to make property ownership accessible, reduce blight, and generate much needed revenue for the city’s budget, made a selection of forty nine properties available at far below their assessed market value through a web portal built and hosted by GovPilot.
“Successful auctions are key to our redevelopment efforts, especially when they get promising properties into the hands of tax-paying residents who can renovate them for the benefit of the surrounding community,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. “And with the residency requirement for many of these properties, we know they will be cared for by Trentonians who are proud to finally own a stake in their hometown.”
The mayor added, “To be able to host a successful online, socially distanced real estate auction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was tremendous. The opportunities created for our residents, and the revenue generated for our budget will support constituent services and the continued revitalization of the city of Trenton.”
To drive awareness and participation in the auction among interested Trenton residents, GovPilot launched a two-week coordinated marketing campaign which included yard signs at the available properties, geo-targeted Facebook and Instagram ads, emails to local residents, and a local press release.
A total of 372 participants pre-registered for the auction by placing a $1,000 reimbursable deposit through an online payment form. In advance of the auction, the city hosted two video conference information sessions, and the auction platform enabled practice bidding so that participants could become familiar with its use.
“This auction was tailor-made to benefit Trenton residents – including first-time homeowners – over outside investors,” said HED Director Ben Delisle. “Even with a Trenton residency requirement for many of these properties, we received 1,554 bids from 284 different participants, showing demand for this area remains relatively high. We will closely review each bid to make sure the residency restrictions are closely followed.”
One of the successful bidders is looking to own the very same property in which she is a tenant. “I’m very happy that I don’t have to relocate and I’m proud to own the home where I have enjoyed living for the last 20 months,” said Delmy Tabora, who placed the winning bid on her home on Cummins Ave in Trenton. “The website was very practical and easy to use, and I would recommend it to others.”
Michael Bonner, the founder and CEO of GovPilot said, “Right now, municipalities across the country are looking for creative, effective ways to generate revenue, revitalize neighborhoods, and support their residents. We are proud to partner with the city of Trenton. Not only has this auction made homeownership more accessible, it will help the city revitalize its neighborhoods and budget as well.”
Bonner added, “GovPilot’s mission is to help local governments operate efficiently through digital transformation. This program is replicable across the country and is a win for local governments and residents alike. We invite municipal officials nationwide to consider GovPilot hosted government real estate auctions as part of their economic development strategy.”
Since 2017, GovPilot has provided Trenton - New Jersey’s capital city - with cloud-based government management software, replacing processes that were previously paper-based. Today, constituent services are available digitally through the city’s website, including registrations and permit applications, construction management, and the reporting of non-emergency concerns through an online form or a mobile app called GovAlert.
In April, as COVID-19 forced businesses to close their doors, Trenton utilized GovPilot’s platform to make low-interest loan applications available to small businesses located within the city’s Urban Enterprise Zone, in an effort to help them remain in business and protect local jobs.
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This press release appeared on PRNewswire. Read it here.
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