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Eric M. Fancher, Jr. served as the Administrator for the Birmingham Land Bank Authority (BLBA). from 2017 to 2021.

Eric M. Fancher, Jr. – Administrator (2017-2021)

Eric Fancher, Jr. has significant experience in program development and administration, having worked in capital project management and land banking at the City of Birmingham for over nine years. Mr. Fancher previously oversaw the implementation of programming and operations at the Birmingham Land Bank Authority (BLBA), the first and only Land Bank in the State of Alabama to successfully take a property interest from tax deed to fee simple ownership with insurable title. During his tenure, the BLBA cleared title to nearly 600 parcels and created a similar system to close the sale of large volume properties in an efficient manner.

Under Mr. Fancher’s direction, the BLBA facilitated pathways for individual citizens, non-profits, and developers to commence numerous vacant property reuse projects and renovation projects on BLBA cleared parcels. Additionally, the BLBA cleared title on parcels for new home developments by partner agencies, developers, non-profits and other entities in many Birmingham communities and neighborhoods including Titusville, Woodlawn, Wahouma, and Fountain Heights.

One of the most significant accomplishments during Mr. Fancher’s tenure was the successful effort to draft and pass amendments outlined in the 2021 Alabama Senate Bill 32, which amends the Alabama Land Bank Authority Act. Over the last four years, the BLBA, a trailblazer in land banking in Alabama, identified several items that would improve operations/processes of municipal land banks and access to land banking in Alabama.

Prior to working with the BLBA, Mr. Fancher served as an Assistant to the Mayor for Capital and Special Projects from 2012 to 2017. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Performance at Loyola University in New Orleans. He returned to Birmingham and earned his Master in Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Juris Doctor from the Birmingham School of Law. Mr. Fancher currently lives in the Norwood neighborhood with his wife, Sharonda, and daughter, Leslie. He is intentional about living and raising his family in Birmingham.

Mr. Fancher and his wife both left Birmingham for college, but were adamant about returning and raising their family in the City of Birmingham. Mr. Fancher has a great appreciation of the severity of the blight problem facing Birmingham. There are over five hundred blighted properties eligible for Land Bank in his and the surrounding neighborhoods. He is committed to seeing the BLBA empower citizens to eliminate blight, increase property values and see neighborhood revitalization in all 99 of Birmingham’s neighborhoods.

Mr. Fancher served as an Assistant to the Mayor for Capital and Special Projects from 2012 to 2017. He formerly lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he performed and studied Jazz at Loyola University. He returned to Birmingham and earned his Master in Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Juris Doctor from the Birmingham School of Law.

  • Alabama Tax Sales- Clearing and challenging title to properties sold for taxes.” Birmingham Bar Association CLE (July 2017)
  • “Gentrification: Displacement, Progress, or Both?”. University of Alabama Blackburn Institute Symposium (August 2017)
  • “Birmingham Land Bank: Lessons in public sector program management.” University of Alabama at Birmingham Honors College (March 2018)
  • “Birmingham Land Bank and Its Role in Revitalizing Birmingham.” Alabama Real Estate Management Summit, Institute of Real Estate Management (August 2018)
  • “Locating and Acquiring Property for Redevelopment.” Birmingham Urban Redevelopment Seminar, Bradley, Arant, Boult and Cummings (September 2018)
  • “How to Create and Operate a Local Land Bank.” Alabama League of Municipalities Fall Municipal Law Conference (October 2018)
  • “Land Banking as a tool to fight blight in Birmingham.” Birmingham Southern College PSC Symposium (November 2018)

The Birmingham Land Bank Authority, a public corporation, is the first local municipal land bank to incorporate and operate under Alabama’s property and tax foreclosure laws. We have made great strides over the last five years.

Upon joining the staff in 2017, we were not able to close on the sale of a property. This year, we will have over 500 ties that will have made the journey from tax deed to insurable title and will have been available for purchase.

The Birmingham Land Bank Authority (BLBA) has the unique ability to acquire and extinguish back taxes, municipal liens and assessments and the authority to institute legal actions to clear titles on eligible properties and foster development on properties that were previously financial liabilities rather than assets.

Every property that the land bank conveys to a new owner is a property that the City of Birmingham no longer has to maintain and one that generates revenue for the city.

The BLBA continues to focus not solely on completing sales, but selling parcels to buyers that have plans to develop the property into assets for the community.

We must remember these key points that the Center For Community Progress notes on all Land Banks across the country:

  • All land banks will always need some level of support – cash or in-kind – proportional to the scope and scale of vacancy and blight it is expected to resolve.
  • If the properties had market potential, there would be no problem!
  • Thus, this work requires ongoing investments from non-private actors (government, foundations, nonprofits, volunteers, etc.)
  • Not about maximizing proceeds, but optimizing neighborhood outcome!
  • Consistent funding streams allow staff to find creative solutions instead of chasing the next grant. Municipal financial and collaborative support of the BLBA projects is vital to ensuring that our communities are Safe, Secure, Sustainable, Healthy, Thriving and Diverse.

The BLBA looks forward to putting more properties back into productive use over the next year and fostering neighborhood revitalization in all of our communities.