Vacant Property Overview

WCDC supports the transition of vacant spaces into transformative opportunities.

Do you have a will? If not, reach out today.

Through the 2022 calendar year, the WCDC is working with Kalmeyer and Kalmeyer to support Wilkinsburg residents in preparing a will, estate planning, and other legal transactions related to real estate transactions. Submit your information below to join the program.

The State of Vacancy in Wilkinsburg 2022

Over 18% of Wilkinsburg’s building stock is vacant, along with over 500 tax delinquent vacant lots.

Rather than focus on the negative aspects of blight and vacancy, the WCDC works to support efforts to turn vacant spaces into opportunities to transform an empty lot to a vibrant garden, a blighted building to a growing business, and a vacant house to a home. We do this by highlighting available properties, connecting people with tools and resources, such as the Vacant Property Recovery Program, and sharing success stories.

Throughout the past year, the WCDC has worked with the community to create Seeking Solutions: Blight & Vacancy in Wilkinsburg, a comprehensive report on the status of vacancy across the borough. Click the button below to read the report.

How do you acquire vacant property in Wilkinsburg?

One of the biggest issues facing Wilkinsburg is vacant property and blight. Nearly 20 percent–close to 900 parcels–of Wilkinsburg’s houses and commercial buildings are vacant and/or blighted.

Though a major issue, vacant property also presents an opportunity to acquire a house or building for a very low cost. There are several tools and resources for acquiring vacant property. Still, the process of acquiring a vacant property can be a bit daunting, so the WCDC developed a downloadable how-to guide with flowchart and table of acquisition options to walk you through the process.

Getting started

The best way to start is to locate a vacant property or properties you are interested in by simply driving or walking around. Then, research the property on the Allegheny County Real Estate website.


Acquiring Vacant Property

What happens next depends. Not every process is a good fit for every property or every prospective buyer. Our downloadable guide lays out all the ways in which you an acquire vacant property, but the three most common options are:

Negotiating a fair sale price with the current owner. This is the most direct path to an acquisition of vacant property. If the current owner is unresponsive, this option may not be feasible but outreach attempts should be documented.


Applying through the Vacant Property Recovery Program. This option is only possible if the property is vacant and tax delinquent for at least three years and the prospective buyer can demonstrate the capacity to complete the work. For an easy step by step guide on the process click here.

Purchasing at a Sheriff’s Sale. If the property is not already listed for Sheriff’s Sale, there is an option to contract with the delinquent tax collector to have a property taken to sale. Check out our quick guide on the process or a more in-depth guide provided by MBM Collections.

General Tools & Resources

Rehab & Reuse



acant Land

These resources are focused on the acquisition, reclamation and reuse of vacant land where no buildings or structures are present.

Acquiring Vacant Land

Reclamation/Reuse/Volunteer Greening

  • Wilkinsburg and Pollinator Garden Resources
  • Litter Clean Up Kits – Supplies provided by Allegheny CleanWays & Friends of the Riverfront
  • Lots to Love – A guide by Grounded for community organizations and residents interested in transforming vacant lots.
  • Pittsburgh Mobile Toolbox – A shared community resource with landscaping tools for neighborhood cleanups, vacant lot beautification.
  • CommunityCare – Apply to participate in an incentive-based stewardship program that works with residents to beautify their neighborhoods
  • Refresh Fund – Apply for up to $500 worth of materials and supplies for a vacant lot project
  • Land Doctor  Team of community  project consultants that provide direct assistance to any resident looking to access, reclaim, transform, or otherwise take care of vacant land in their neighborhood
  • Grow Pittsburgh – Has an innovative guide on what to look for when evaluating a plot for a community garden along with best practices and resources available.


Resources and information on homebuying and housing stabilization programs.


Closing Costs Assistance


Housing Stabilization

Rehab & Repair

Renter Resources

These resources are focused on programs to assist renters.

Rental Assistance

Legal Protections

Learn More:

Glossary of Terms – By the WCDC related to development, real estate, and vacant property/blight.

Conservatorship – Information from the PA Housing Alliance Blight Library.

FAQs on Land Banks by the Center for Community Progress.

How Community Land Trusts work by Grounded Solutions.

Learn more about some of the work City of Bridges a local land trust has been doing.

Building Stronger Neighborhoods – From Center for Community Progress, includes links for preventing involuntary displacement, building income/wealth, preserving affordable housing stock.

What Other Cities are Doing – case studies by the Center for Community Progress.

Sustainable Building Overview – What does it mean and how does it work?

Webinars from experts across the country on various topics – An archive of online education.

Have a question or concern related to vacant property in Wilkinsburg?