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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The city's vacant properties in Anacostia

The Washington City Paper's Aaron Wiener has written an article "Is the City to Blame for Anacostia's Vacant Properties?" about some of the District government's vacant (and probably blighted) properties an historic SE DC neighborhood. Art and trash and government vacant properties don't mix.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Vacant lot at FL and Q has a Twitter hashtag

Vacant Q St 4In my day we called them pound signs. The Bates Area Civic Association blog reported about the hashtag, regarding the September 8th meeting where two developers gave presentations regarding the vacant government owned property at Florida Ave and Q St NW. The hastag is #FlaQNW.

One of the developers has a email, ( but no website. The other developer was a bit more old school and had big posters of what they hoped to do on the site.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vacant Property not Unclaimed Property

4 bills and changeLooking at the stats for this website, it appears I get a few people looking for unclaimed or abandoned property, which is not what this site is about. This site is about vacant buildings and land.
If you are looking for unclaimed property go to
Unclaimed property may include: wages, bank accounts, money orders, traveler checks, CDs, overpayments, deposits, life insurance payouts, and stocks and dividends and the like. The District of Columbia's CFO's site has a database (love open government) where one may search to see if they have any unclaimed property. If you got something in the mail from someone saying you or a family member has unclaimed property, don't waste a dime paying them. Get it yourself. Just go to the website, mail in the form, and if you are the rightful recipient, you will get it back for free.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Florida and Q (Sq 0615, lots 75, 149, 152, etc) NW

Vacant Q St 4This is old news, but the city is soliciting offers for several parcels of property owned by the District of Columbia, with the goal of making them into something useful. This includes the lots at Q and Florida Avenues NW, which is across the street from Joe Mamo's lot.
There was a hope to turn this sunny lot into a community garden, but the tide in the city seems to be turning away from green spaces to mixed use development.
Since the property is currently owned by the city, it pays no taxes, and as with the city, it takes a while for things to eventually get developed. Thankfully, it is not a school.
A quick look at the solicitation it appears the city wants a developer-buyer to create a mixed income and mixed use development, with the residential units being 51% affordable (residents at 80% AMI). Luckily, the city defines AMI (Area Median Income) with 1 person household earning $59,920, a 2 person household at $68,480, a 3 person household $77,040, 4 person $85,600 and so forth. The city wants it to be a LEED building, and there are other requirements that deal with the city.
According to the Department of Housing and Community Development developers have until October (10th or 24th) to submit proposal applications.