Monday, August 3, 2015

Langston and Slater DC Government's Demolition by neglect

100_0400.JPGScott Roberts of Bloomingdale has on the BACA blog part of an article from the Washington Business Journal mentioning these two buildings.

Langston has been closed for like, ever.

Slater. Slater had/has some children's care inside that crumbly building. I'd shift some of the responsibility to the tenants on its state.

There are several other buildings throughout the city that are in good locations where the city lets the buildings rot. Giving them a historic designation did zero in making them functional. It just makes them more expensive to repair.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why no Vacant Sticker for 234 Florida Avenue NW?

First, I do not mean to pick on Mr. Behzad Hosseinkhan. I say this because I have criticized him before regarding another property (1721 4th St NW) when I was doing the blog. He seems to be a nice enough person.... So I feel sorta bad, but not bad enough to make an observation.
His property at 234 Florida Avenue has sat vacant long enough without paying the vacant tax rate. Don't let the sign outside fool you, in practice, it is not available. Back in 2012 two ladies thought of opening a wine bar at this location and they were to call it Snitcheye. But they were having difficulties with the owner, and the deal fell through. Word was the owner (I guess Mr. Hosseinkhani) was difficult. Residents were sad. We were sad because we wanted a wine bar and not have to cross Florida Avenue.
Okay fast forward to 2014 or accurately, 2015. A couple of people, mainly a brother and sister team and their gang of foodie friends (who already had a restaurant on H St NE) feasted their eyes upon the corner of 3rd and Florida. First they approached the owner of 234 FL Ave. That fell through, then they decided that the crumbly disaster of a building across the street at 300 Florida Avenue was a much better deal. The rumor with this was he wanted too much money for the space.
And lastly, I walked by a space on North Capitol where I knew the upper apartment space was occasionally occupied and the lower space was dealing with some ABRA/ permitting limbo issues, and it was slapped with one of those pretty yellow vacant stickers. So why not do the same with 234 Florida?
Okay the particulars. The owner used to live or still lives in DC, has owned the property for a while and the tax bill goes to a P.O. Box in 20009. PIVs says there are three permits associated with this address. The first one was issued in 2010 to repair windows and brick walls. The second in 2013 to make adjustments and dig out the basement. And the last one was a year later in 2014 for plumbing and gas.
To my knowledge nothing has been in that location since my residence in the Truxton Circle neighborhood. So let's say a little less than 15 years. It's been vacant long enough.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Vacant Stickers- 1539 4th St NW

1539 4th St NWI've been noticing lately bright yellow stickers on properties around the neighborhood declaring properties vacant.
That's helpful.
This vacant property is a 1539 4th St NW. It is owned by a C D Major of Forth Washington, MD since heavens knows when. It was determined vacant this year (yay DCRA). 

There  are others.

 The photo on the right I spotted on the 400 blk of N St NW. Unfortunately, I did not get the address. This had building permits and I by the time I noticed the ladder (and the guy on it) I had decided to walk away. But it is another example of the yellow vacant stickers going up around the city.

Vacant Signage on N St NW

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sometimes if you wait long enough

1211 10th St NWI'm a horrible procrastinator. I meant to post about a house on 10th St the seemed to be going nowhere. Then a week or so later I noticed that it had permits and construction seemed to be on it's way. So....  if you wait long enough with some vacant properties something will happen.
Maybe not this week.
Maybe not this month.
Maybe not this year.
Or even this decade.
But, eventually, something will happen.
Regarding 1211 10th St NW, pictured here. Permits were issued around this time last year to remove the load bearing walls, and another permit to turn it into condos or somethin' was issued in November. The BadWolfDC (not Dr. Who related at all) blog has documented the history of this particular property.
1435ish 11th St NW 2But I'm really excited to see is a property around 1435-1437 11th St NW. That place was vacant when I arrived in Shaw back in 2000. It was very vacant then. It was vacant when I moved to the Truxton Circle area of Shaw. It was vacant a decade later. Nothing was happening. Google's Streetview Time Machine shows that even in 2011 nothing was happening, except the building was attracting graffiti. Apparently 1431 11th St NW does not exist, but for permit purposes 1437 11th St NW does. Permits for that address go back to 2013. According to the DC Property Tax Database, the owners, Triad Builders LLC of Bethesda, MD have been sitting on this since 2009. Well I'm thankful that something, in the past decade or two is being done. The unfinished work thus far is a great improvement over what was there for heaven's knows how long.Sq338-lot41

Friday, March 27, 2015

328 T St NW- minor update

I mentioned this property last year in February.
It's still vacant.
It is still owned by Howard University.
But recently quoted in the Washington City Paper, the Howard University President said ground will break to restore the property in 6 months.
As of today there is nothing in the DCRA PIVS about a permit and it being in an Historic District means a little more work, so someone needs to start doing the paperwork now if anything that looks like real work on the ground is going to happen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DC Vacant Property in Anacostia falls down

See Art of Ward 8's post Mother Nature Takes Its Toll on Historic Anacostia.
The Washington City Paper has a longer article "After Historic Anacostia Facade Collapses, Neighbors Charge City with 'Demolition by Neglect'" and I have an address.
Mother Nature demolished the vacant properties but the City of the District of Columbia made it easy for her to do by leaving the structure open to the elements, for years. Looking at Google Street View's Time machine I see that in 2007 there was a little bit more 'there' there.
There appears to have been a roof. There were sides and a back.
June 2008 the sides were coming down. The roof was off and the interior, which looks a little burnt out, was exposed.
July 2008 most of the sides and the whole roof were gone.
2011 the property is mostly a facade with a steel bracing thing in the rear. We had the same thing going on at the O Street Market in NW DC.
Not much changed from 2011-2014.
Now 2015. Rubble. Now DC Government has a vacant lot.
Destroy a building in 8 years. Just add exposure and neglect.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of 2014- A few Happy Endings

As the year comes to a close I would like to remark on a few properties that have moved from the vacant list to the occupied and soon-to-be- occupied list.

Back in January 2014 I wrote about 310 P St NW and before that in 2013. This year the property has been fixed up and brought back to the land of the living. In November it sold for $849,000. What is wonderful about this is that there are no longer any obviously vacant homes on the 300 block of P Street NW. That stretch is complete. It is whole.

403 R St NW
403 R St NW
Nearby at 403 R St NW, it too was sold in November. It was a bit of a shell. A long term shell that didn't look that bad by the person driving by. It had no mailbox on it, so no mail piling up. There was no grass in the front yard, the windows had drapes and the front was kept tidy. What a passerby never saw was the hole in the roof, or the damage it was causing for the home attached to it. This property got a write up in May 2014. At this moment there are workmen in the house and fixing the property up. The brick has been recently repointed, something I did not know it needed. As one can see from this old photo, the neat appearance hid the faults quite well.

It is difficult to say what is up with 1617 New Jersey Ave NW, so it will remain on the list until work is done. This property could see a happy ending in 2015. The property was sold in October and there is a permit for work. Unfortunately this house has a history of work being done, and work torn out of it.

Lastly, I'm going to remove 4334 Klingle Street, NW from the list. Though it had Tyvek in May 2014 instead of the black tar paper it had in 2008, it was sold in 2013 and is now taxed at the residential rate. Looking at the tax payments since 2010, there was a period of tens of thousands of dollars paid and now the current amount seems sort of in line with the neighborhood. It's a lot, but them again the house is assessed at being worth about $926K.

There are still vacant properties in the District. Some are privately owned by individuals, some owned by the city, some owned by LLCs and other deep pocketed groups. In the case of residential buildings, those places don't need to be vacant. There is a huge demand for housing in the District, more so in NW DC. There is a need for affordable housing, so the shells that stand, could stand to be rehabbed by motivated people for properties to house people.

Happy New Year. Happy 2015.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Vacant in other places

A reader passed along two site that may be of interest to other readers of this blog (if I have readers... sometimes I'm not sure...). They are sites for Baltimore and Philadelphia, other northeastern urban areas with vacant property problems.

First is from Open Baltimore, their map of vacant properties in the city of Baltimore. That map is based on a table of over 16,000 vacant properties. I love how it is a .gov site and that the city is putting the information out there so citizens and others can view it and make decisions. I just wish the table had a notice date so one can see how long or how new a property has been vacant. The site says the data is refreshed every two months or as needed, so it is hard to judge how up to date it is. Another thing I found was I cross checked with a real estate site and found obviously vacant houses for sale and looked at the Open Baltimore site and found close addresses which made me wonder if the Open Baltimore data was off by one house.

Second is for city owned vacant Philadelphia properties. Sigh. I wish DC had something similar, so DC, it's politicians and citizens could see clearly on a map. The FAQ for the site provides some insight on what the city's goals are and that clarity probably helps make this politically feasible. For one resident homeowners whose primary residence is on the block can buy an adjacent city lot (make the neighbors happy). There are also clear looking steps for developers, small and large. Lower down the list are options for folks who want to lease city property for urban farming or community gardening.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

11th and K St NW- Vacant for over 20 years

This building has been vacant for over 20 years. How do I know this? Back in the 90s when I was going to grad school in New England, some friends and I came to DC for winter break. I stayed with my aunt in Maryland and they stayed at the Youth Hostel nearby. There are two vacant buildings in this photo though one is semi-being used as a billboard for the new iPhone 6.
1015 K Street (0342 0053) and 1001 11th St NW (0342 806) are listed in the tax database as belonging to " JEMAL'S BULLDOG LLC". Seriously Jemal? You're naming projects after pets? Is this project a dog? Anyway, as a Jemal Douglas building they may sit for another 20+ years.
It is taxed at the commercial rate since they are commercial buildings. Though vacant forever, tax records say the parcels came into the Jemal Empire in 2003 and 2005. They are next door to parcels 004 and 005, 1009 and 1011 K Streets NW, also listed under Jemal's Bulldog LLC.
Once seeing the name Jemal it is pretty much pointless to see if it is being taxed at the vacant rate, because it isn't and it doesn't matter, because Douglas Development only develops when they darn well feel like it and no increased taxes will make them budge.