Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1617 New Jersey Avenue NW

This is not news, just an observation of a vacant property.
For the longest while 1617 New Jersey Avenue NW has been vacant. The owner had fixed it up and rented it out. But then the renters went away and the bank was foreclosing. And foreclosing, and eventually would get around to actually foreclosing. Before the bank took physical control, the owner stripped everything out. Everything, the french doors, the deck, the nice doors, fridge, everything.
For a while, address was listed on Redfin as being under contract since May 2012, but it doesn't say what happened after that. I also noticed that the owner who was being foreclosed upon is still listed as the owner on the DC real propery tax database, with NJ Ave as his address. As a vacant (but apparently not blighted) residence, it is taxed at the Class 3 rate.
Walking by I noticed a for sale sign out front, which had me searching on Redfin.  Things may have changed but I thought if a vacant property was up for sale, it could avoid getting taxed at the Class 3 or 4 rate. Since September 2011 it has been taxed at the higher rate and somebody has been paying it.
The point of the rate is to push the parties involved to get vacant properties into good use again. However, it is 2013 and this place has been empty at least since 2010 (probably before that). There could be other things at play. Martin Moulton of the CCCA alerted me to the ongoing case of 509 O St NW, where the owner is dragging out her case for a property that has been falling apart since 2004.
These vacant and in cases blighted properties are an impediment to the progress of a street. They are missed opportunities of having neighbors who may add to the community. The longer they are vacant the more missed opportunities.