Dear PoP – What’s Going on at 7th and Varnum

IMG_2194, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

I just noticed as I drove by the corner of 7th & Varnum that the apartment building at 4226 7th Street NW has been boarded up. It’s an apartment building that has had its share of police activity and possible prostitution going on inside.

Do you know anything?”

I walked by and spoke to a resident who was outside. He said the building was vacated Friday evening around 8pm. He also believes the entire building is going to be demolished. That appears likely as there was a sign proclaiming the structure unsafe.


8 Comment

  • it’s a shame that the building will get torn down because of disinvestment. this could easily be turned into nice apartments or condos if the city pushed for code enforcement and took the time to find a buyer. see here and here.

  • I’m confused…what’s DCMR 14-115? There doesn’t seem to be such a regulation.

  • I bet the structure itself is okay i.e. the four walls. It could probably be gutted and then rehabbed (I assume). But I guess this will probably take a long time and plans could change and change and change.

    The only exception to this would be if the City has already spent years trying to work with the owner and has finally obtained some sort of court order to demolish it (after exhausting other options). Chicago has had a pretty aggressive policy like this and instead of allowing abandoned buildings (like this one now) to stand & fester for years.

    In any case I hope they can keep much of the original structure…

  • Vacated residents were getting on a really nice bus – do you know what support the govt gives to the inhabitants when they vacate a building? Temporary housing elsewhere?

  • Anyone else think it’s odd that despite it’s condition it has brand new windows on the second floor – looks like the manufacturer stickers are still on them??

  • Anon, it’s this:

    Title 14 Chapter 1

    115.1 If any residential premises, or part thereof, presents an imminent danger to the
    inhabitants or the surrounding community because it has been determined that it is an
    unsafe structure, a structure unfit for human occupancy, an unlawful structure, or a
    structure in which there is unsafe equipment, the Director may order the structure closed
    and barricaded. If the owner fails to carry out the Director’s order within forty-eight (48)
    hours after service of notice, the Director may order the structure barricaded and may
    assess all reasonable costs of barricading the structure and all expenses incident thereto,
    including, but not limited to, administrative costs, occupant relocation costs including
    temporary housing, security deposits and the first month’s rent if required, costs
    associated with cleaning the premises as defined by this subtitle, utility removal costs,
    court costs, fines, and penalties, as an assessment against the property.

  • I spoke to a neighbor about this building – she said the owner is a notorious slumlord and the building was declared uninhabitable. There was a bus here the other night, I think provided by the city who were arranging alternate housing for the residents. This landlord has both gone to jail for his actions, and been forced to live in his own buildings (!)…google for Rufus Stancil and you will find out a lot about him.

    I found this article about the building:

    check out this excerpt:

    Rufus Stancil is the absent-minded warlord of D.C. slumlords. He has a famous temper, an omnipresent crew of handymen/henchmen and a tendency to forget about a few late rent checks. In the city’s receivership suit, the attorney general cites Stancil, and several of his family members, for hundreds of housing code violations (damp ceilings, rotten woodwork, infestations, holes in walls) at 18 rental properties across the city. The 73-year-old Stancil is used to the attention: In 2001, he was forced to live in one of his dilapidated properties for 60 days after pleading guilty to 70 housing code violations. Stancil bought his first property 40 years ago, according to his son Gary, and now owns hundreds of rental units across the city. And still, he relies on himself rather than a management company to care for his crumbling empire.

    He spends his days traveling from building to building, often, according to tenants, verbally harassing renters he doesn’t like. Jose Longo, who rents an apartment from Stancil at 7th and Varnum Streets NW, says Stancil once broke into his place by knocking the lock off the door with a hammer. More recently, he says, Stancil threatened to blow his head off. Longo didn’t take the threat seriously, but he does wonder if someday the old man will snap. Longo rents a one-bedroom but sleeps in the living room because holes in the ceiling of the bedroom dump water on the carpet and furniture whenever it rains. He says Stancil doesn’t scare him, and he doesn’t think he should have to leave to get better living conditions.

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