Anne Fadullon is no stranger to the Development Workshop. As a longtime private developer, Fadullon served as the Workshop’s vice chairwoman for several years before being hired by Mayor Kenney to serve as the city’s first Director of Planning and Development.
The position, created by an amendment to the City Charter, is meant to streamline the operations of a number of city departments that have a hand in real estate development and planning. Once the amendment is fully implemented in 2017, several key departments will report to Fadullon, including: the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, the Historical Commission, the Art Commission, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. and the Land Bank.
Fadullon is also coordinating her work with the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which will remain independent, as well as the Commerce Department, which is going to hone in on business development and attraction.
Her goal, she said during a presentation to a recent Development Workshop meeting, is to leverage different city infrastructure investments to “leverage around [those investments] and come up with a cohesive community development strategy.”
If Fadullon has her way, the city would ensure that targeted investments in city facilities would be coupled with improvements to utility and street infrastructure, as well as the targeted redevelopment of key vacant parcels to foster neighborhood transformation.
This holistic view is guiding her approach to the new Land Bank. Created several years ago to assist in the redevelopment of vacant parcels of land throughout the city, the Land Bank has recently received its first properties.
“We don’t want it to be a bank,” where properties sit there unused for years, Fadullon said. Instead, she wants to target the Land Bank’s special powers to seize key tax-delinquent properties that could be quickly redeveloped into active use.
Fadullon wants to create livable communities that attract urban professionals – and businesses – to Philadelphia while also taking care to preserve affordable housing opportunities for working families. As such, she wants the city to promote a range of housing choices.
But her central focus will be on careful and strategic implementation. Fadullon praised the efforts of the previous administration to develop a series of development plans to guide the city’s future. Now, the time has come to work with stakeholders, including the development community and City Council, to bring those plans to fruition while overcoming the bureaucratic obstacles that have hamstrung development in the past.