Tuesday, February 18, 2014

326 T St NW

The Washington Post had an article about a long vacant home of an African American notable, which goes with the Black History Month theme here at DC Vacant Properties.
The property has been owned by Howard University since 1998 and at one point money was raised and spent to deal with the bricks and roof. It sits in an historic district and it has been designated an historic home due to its former tenant Mary Church Terrell. According to the article it will cost 1.7 million to renovate. Considering Howard University's present financial problems, it doesn't look like they are going to raise the money anytime soon. But who knows, the Howard Theater was in poor horrid shape for years with impotent leadership, then change happened and eventually real improvement happened and now it is a place where you can get some overpriced food while watching entertainment on the stage.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

1251 4th St NW

 Here is a story of how to avoid the vacant tax rate. There are two little tricks to buy time. One is to get a permit to do work on the vacant property. The property won't be taxed at the higher rate while significant work is being done. To the left is a permit for repairs of the Hoagie House (see image above). Windows were put in, but not much more. There is a long story of the ever vacant Hoagie House and the blighted tax rate has been a part of that story. The permit sports the name of a person who has been involved with other projects that have taken far longer than normal to get off the ground, such as the North Capitol firehouse. The permit is also set to expire in a few days, which brings us to the second way to avoid the vacant tax rate.
Putting a vacant and blighted property on the market is the second method that holds off the vacant tax rate. A few days ago 1251 4th St NW, was put on the market for $2.4 million dollars. This includes lot 0858 and lot 0873 and it is a commercial property. According to whomever is selling this they are awaiting zoning approval to divide into 3 lots and they say the structure has a certificate of occupancy for four units. Any buyer should verify that last statement, as DCRA's online permit application didn't show any certificates of occupancy. Other headache for any potential buyer is this property is that it is in an historic district. Looking at DCRA's PIVS, it appears that the property was found to be vacant, but is being taxed at the commercial rate.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1538 9th St NW

  by In Shaw
, a photo by In Shaw on Flickr.
For Black History Month I present 1538 9th Street NW, home of Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History.
As you may notice this and the adjoining building are surrounded by a high chain linked fence for pedestrian safety. It has been like this for awhile. Years really. The historic home and adjoining property are owned by the National Park Service who have plans, but apparently no money to do anything. The plans have been around for years, so long so that original plans included another adjoining property the federal agency did not own and was bought by private citizens, who fixed it up and made it their residence. When the NPS dragged out the plans again to show that they had plans, the owners of the house that was part of the plan were alarmed.
UntitledRegardless of a plan or not, this and the next door property are vacant, and have been for years. Let's hope that this will not be featured in DC Vacant Properties' 2015 Black History Month profile.
See also Renew Shaw's 2007 post about 1538 9th St NW, and the National Park Service's failure to rehabilitate this property.