Friday, April 13, 2018

234 Florida Ave NW- 1/2 occupied

So there is a commercial property that a landlord is holding on to and seems to have little interest in actually having a commercial tenant. That place is 234 Florida Ave NW, in Truxton Circle. I've reviewed it before, and today I'm taking it off the list, even though there still isn't a tenant in the commercial space.


Kitty in the upstairs window.

Across the street from 234 FL Ave on 3rd St NW is a lovely establishment called ANXO. It was a warm day, and I was in the mood to sit out on the patio with my infant. While I was there I observed the landlord with a gentleman. They may have just reviewed the space. Then my eyes gazed upward to the upstairs, where there was a black and white cat doing what cats do. That looks occupied enough for me.

As far as I know he could be Airbnb'ing the place as a unique space, with cat. I've seen that kind of ad when we were staying in San Francisco. We could have stayed at this gal's Mission District studio apartment but we'd have to take care of her cats during our stay. I support Airbnb, I've used that platform as a guest and as a host, but mainly as a guest.

However, I digress.

It is unclear to me how the vacant thing works with commercial properties. And even more unclear as to how occupied a building needs to be. I'll have to stay beyond Happy Hour to see if the lights come on and there is more than a cat living upstairs.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Langston- A failure of DC Govenment

I'm cross posting this with the InShaw blog.
There is no point to using an updated photograph of the Langston School. It was rotting away 10 years ago when the picture was taken in 2007, it is still rotting away now and the way things are going, it may be another 10 years before the city actually brings this property back to the land of the living and legit.
This property is a vacant school in the DC government inventory. It was a school from 1902 til the mid-1990s. In 1997 it was a homeless shelter. By the time I moved here in the 00s, it was a vacant husk and only a homeless shelter when the homeless and others broke in. In 2013 it got on the National Register for Historic Places, so there is that. Around 2012 Langston was offered to charters, who have 1st dibs, and nobody wanted it. No charter wants it because it is an unmaintained structure with a rotted roof that is in need of a serious rehab work. Even Mundo Verde Charter School, across the street, which took over the still functioning Cook School building and built an addition, hasn't seriously pursued it. Langston is too far gone as a building to be of any use to a school.
Another complication is in the Slater School, another building that shares a playground with Langston. It is A.R.E. ARE is a social service organization and a daycare and it looks like they are also getting in on the Pre-K thing too. Slater is a poorly maintained building, but the tenant ARE holds on tight to its location. I strongly suspect ARE has powerful friends that are protecting ARE to the detriment of the Langston building. I suspect this because for at least a decade now, when residents bring up the nuisance property that is Langston to city councilmen or the council staff or city staff who show up to the local meetings, they seem to have no idea it exists and fail to get back to residents with a satisfactory answer.
The civic association for the area BACA, has recently formed a committee to try to figure out what could be done with Langston.
This is DC Government property. It is the Government of the District of Columbia's responsibility. Any demolition by neglect would be purely the fault of the local government. The DC government has failed the residents of the unit blocks of P and Bates.  But then again, the DC government is a crappy property manager.
Previous blog post about Langston-
Langston School Registration form-
Ward 5 Councilman Kenyon McDuffie- and

Friday, February 23, 2018

46 R Street NW

About a week ago when the cold cold winter gave way to one glorious day of 70 degree weather, I took a walkabout with my son and noticed a yellow vacant sticker for 46 R Street Northwest in Bloomingdale. I also noticed a bunch of fliers and mail piling up in the storm door. Curious, I decided to look into it and I have some guesses.

The listed owner is Mavilla Bradley who is receiving the Senior Citizen Homestead Deduction and has mail delivered to a PO Box. As soon as I see that I wonder if the person is dead. I did a quick search and did not see anything saying she (I'm going with she, I could be wrong) was dead. But a Google search brought up something saying she was 95 years old. That same site also claimed that her aliases are " Odessa Cauthorn, Mavilla O Docks, Maville O Biggers, Bradley Havilla, Bradley Mavilla, Odessa M Bradley, Odessa Bradley cauthorne, Mailla Bradley, Maville O Grantt, Maville O Gantt, Maville O Docks, Mavilla O Bradley, Maville O Cauthorne, Maville O Bradley".  This will come in handy when trying to figure out when the family or the person came to possess the property.

As far as taxes go, Ms. Bradley seems to have been paying the senior discounted rate from as far back as 2004 up until 2016. In 2017 the rate jumped up to look like what a non-senior citizen pays. The vacant tax rate has not kicked in yet. She might be in a nursing home, if she is still alive.

As far back as 1985 there is a Odessa B Cauthorne who with Hugh Cauthorne bought the house.  In 1990 it appears Catherine Odessa Bradley took out a $20K loan to rehab 46R Street. I don't know if this is the same person or a relative as Mavilla Bradley. Mavilla Bradley appears in 1998 in the land records settling a mechanic's lien, and in 2000 became owner. Refer back to the name salad of aliases... yeah.

No records of permits.
So I'm sticking with my theory that there is a nursing home in this story.

As people get older these lovely two and three story townhomes with narrow or steep stairs are not good or practical for aged bodies. There is a romance of aging and dying in one's home. Sometimes it can be done, but other times, various ailments from thinning bones, arthritic hips and knees, swelling legs, and whatever side effects from the cocktail of meds prescribed by dozen of doctors who seem unaware of each other's tinkering, make that impossible.

Hopefully the owner has family who will take control of the situation. Maybe they can rent out the house to provide income to offset medical expenses. Or sell and be done with it. In the meantime that door needs to be cleaned out.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

1316 8th St NW- Still vacant

In December I noticed this FINALLY got a vacant property sticker.
About a year or two ago I had run into Alex P who said the owner was going to do something. Well, that was wishful thinking.
This has been vacant a long long time.
It's 2018 and it is still vacant.
A look at the DC Property Tax database shows, who look to be regular non-resident taxes, not the light a fire under yer butt vacant tax rate. The database doesn't give a date when the listed owner, Martin E. Hardy, obtained ownership. From other searches it appears he bought it for $425,500 in 2009. 
Maybe the problem is this address seems to be under two different lot numbers. I gather the old lot number is 0070, the new is 0830.
Anyway, it is 2018. The last permit I can find using DCRA's website....[grumble], was issued in 2014. It is to repair the earthquake damaged walls and change from a single family to multifamily. There were some permits prior to that, but my memory of visually inspecting from the sidewalk for several years this house, I haven't seen any changes. It looks the same since 2014 when I blogged about it earlier.
What's happening around it? Well Scripture Cathedral is gone and there is a hole in its place where some fancy schamancy condos/apartments for hipsters will be built.
Let's see if the city gets around to charging Mr. Hardy the proper tax rate because he's had 9 years to do whatever the heck he was going to do with this.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

DC Auctioning Off a Bunch of DC govt owned property

Big ole hat tip to Scott Roberts of the Bloomingdale Blog regarding this big ole auction.

As far as I can tell this is totally legit. I've been to an Alex Cooper auction in Baltimore. It was a great house but just not on the block that would have made sense for me. As I remember no one bid on it, I don't believe that will be the case with DC properties, even the vacant lots.
It is an on-line auction which starts on January 18th and ends 1pm on the 23rd, and these are vacant lots, unfinished properties, multi and single family properties in NW, NE, and SE DC.

These are not like the old $1 auctions back in the Barry years. No, the deposit for almost all of them is $5,000 and the starting bid is $20K. It'll bet that everything west of the river will go for several times the opening bid, possibly around $100K at the least, even for lots.

I think this is a wonderful thing. The problem with properties that sit in the government's inventory is that they sit. And sit. And sit...... and...... sit. Right now the iron, or the DC real estate market is hot. There could come a time when it was like the 90s and you couldn't give away houses (crack, murder capitol, nightly gun fire and a high risk of getting beat up walking home, good times), so now is as good as anytime.

The ones that aren't vacant lots need a good contractor. There are strings. Many mention "Sold Subject to Covenants: The properties in this auction are being sold subject to an affordable housing covenant as well as a construction covenant. Failure to abide by these terms will result in the forfeiture of your deposit before closing or potentially the property itself once you have taken title. Please review the documents section for the full terms." So, you just can't buy it and sit on it and I'm not sure what the affordable housing thing is. If I were so inclined, I would want a property for my own personal use.

Hopefully, this will bring several properties back into use.