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.