Frequently Asked Questions

What is a land bank?

Even though ‘bank’ is part of our name, land banks are not banks.

A land bank is a governmental, nonprofit organization that acquires vacant, abandoned or dilapidated properties and then improves them through development or redevelopment. At its heart, a land bank picks up the properties that have been neglected and rejected by the open market. By acquiring problem properties, eliminating their liabilities and transferring them to new owners in a manner most supportive of local needs and priorities, a land bank serves as a catalyst for transforming distressed properties into community assets – places where people want to live, work and play.

Why does Omaha need a land bank?

Every city has run down or abandoned properties. Vacant, empty and tax-delinquent lots and structures litter our city, compounding feelings of despair in our hardest hit neighborhoods. Over time, and especially when these properties are clumped together in one neighborhood, they can drag down property values and create an opportunity for crime to move in. Since the City can’t collect taxes from these properties, it makes it hard for improvement to occur. The OMLB gives the City of Omaha a way to responsibly acquire, develop and inspire change in distressed properties.

How does the OMLB help me?

If you live near run down, abandoned or dangerous properties, the land bank helps you by helping transform those buildings into new homes, businesses, parks, gardens or other beneficial places. The long term goals of the OMLB are to transform problem properties into community assets and to reinvigorate our hardest hit neighborhoods by facilitating development that leads to increased property values, reduced crime, improved opportunity and most importantly, renewed hope and pride in your neighborhood and our city.

How was the OMLB formed?

An overriding public need to confront the dilemma of vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties prompted the Nebraska Legislature to pass the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act in 2013, which enabled the City of Omaha in 2014 to create the OMLB. That same year, a board was appointed and its first meeting held. From 2015-2016, the board created policies, hired team members to form the staff of the land bank, developed a strategic plan and property system and began working to spread the word throughout the city about the land bank’s presence and promise.

Who runs the OMLB?

Every day, we work diligently with public, private and nonprofit community partners to make Omaha an even better place to live by perpetually turning problem properties into opportunities. An Executive Director and staff work under the supervision of the OMLB Board of Directors, which consists of seven voting members appointed by the Mayor of Omaha and confirmed by the Omaha City Council. The Omaha City Planning Director or designee serves as a nonvoting, ex-officio member. Five additional, nonvoting members are also appointed to the OMLB Board.

How is the OMLB funded?

The land bank uses public funding, philanthropic contributions, property tax recapture, property sales, tax certificate redemptions and bonding authority to finance our efforts.

We recognize in order for long-term sustainable change to occur in Omaha’s distressed neighborhoods, we need to build effective, ongoing fund development partnerships. Collaboration with and input from these stakeholders is critical to supporting the OMLB vision and achieving our mission.

What kinds of properties does the OMLB buy?
  • Properties hurting communities now that, if acquired, could prevent the spread of abandonment.
  • Properties that could hurt communities in the future by damaging nearby, healthy properties.
  • Abandoned or delinquent properties with an immediate end user.
What does the land bank do with properties after it buys them?

When it comes to the development process, the Land Bank operates in the predevelopment phase, before construction begins to assess, acquire, prepare and dispose of properties so they can be improved and ultimately, lived in or open to serve the community as businesses.

What are the goals of the OMLB?

The OMLB strategic plan guides our goals, objectives and strategies. We follow it to return vacant and abandoned property to productive use and revitalize Omaha. Five pillars connect our specific goals with our way forward:

  1. Acquisition Planning
  2. End-Use Partnerships, Priorities and Policies
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Fund Development
  5. Organizational Excellence
July 11, 2019

Land Banking: A Sustainable Practice

The importance of sustainability has become increasingly clearer over the last few decades. Emissions from nonrenewable energy sources have been shown to harm our global environment, leading to extreme weather patterns and threats of permanent damage to our climate. Consolidated and outsourced agricultural production, which itself produces large amounts of greenhouse gases, has relied heavily…

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June 24, 2019

Help us Make a Difference: Donate Property to the OMLB!

The Omaha Municipal Land Bank is committed to transforming distressed properties into community assets as affordably as possible. The fewer dollars we spend on acquiring and maintaining a parcel, the lower our listing price! Rather than pricing our properties based on market value, we typically list them for $5,000 more than our expenses. This allows…

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June 6, 2019

Vacant Lot Giveaway: Postponed

In mid March, the Omaha Municipal Land Bank presented the Vacant Lot Giveaway to the public, a project that would allow up to three qualified applicants to win a vacant lot and up to $5,000 in redevelopment funds for their project. We were blown away by the response, and we received applications for 20 different…

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March 14, 2019

Win a Vacant Lot and $5000!

What could YOU do with a vacant lot and $5000? Show us your plan and you could win one of three vacant lots and the funds to get it redeveloped. Find all the program details below – and check out our Pinterest boards for inspiration! Which Lots Can I Pick From? There are eleven lots…

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