Dear PoPville – Encouraging Developers to Buy a House?

Photo via google street view

“Dear PoPville,

There is an empty (boarded-up) row house at 1452 Euclid St NW. I am a neighbor, and I think it would greatly improve the neighborhood if a developer could acquire this from the city and renovate it. Do you have any tips on how I might help bring this project to the attention of developers who might be interested?”

It’s not clear if the city actually owns it or not. It is listed on the unclaimed property list here and here under two different names. My guess would be that a developer looked into the property and determined it was not worth headache. What do you guys think?

25 Comment

  • yeah. more flips jobs in the hood is what we need.

    • Better than a boarded up crack house/eyesore.

      • and yet not as good as being bought by someone that wants to live in it themselves.

          • because developers put in little remote controlled explosive devices into every single unit they build. anywhere from 3-7 years KAbloooeeeyyy!

            think of the children!

          • Oh yeah, dat’s right. I forgot. Thanks!

            Seriously though, what’s wrong with developers? They’re willing to take on some risk, more power to ’em.

        • Point taken (and I agree), but if I had enough money to buy this shell, take it down to the studs and build it back into a nice place to live… I wouldn’t choose to live at 14th and Euclid. I’d choose a more enviable address.

          But then again, some people like a challenge!

  • andy

    send the Occupy . . . guys there to actually make a difference.

  • I’m a neighbor as well. For a time I thought that somebody was in the process of fixing it up, because the windows/frames in the upper floors looked newish. Maybe not?

  • I love how developers are consistantly regarded as the anti-christ on this blog…until you want one to do you a favor and spend their money improving your neighborhood.

  • step 1 buy boarded up town house
    step 2 ???
    step 3 profit

  • if one wanted to try and buy an unclaimed property, what needs to be done?

  • What about encouraging some of my neighbors to sell their houses and move out?

  • The DC Tax Assessment Database lists the owner as the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY, and lists no taxes due nor paid. I know Baltimore has (or had under O’Malley, anyway) a program specifically aimed at clearing the title to abandoned houses in order to make them available to anyone with the money to fix them up and make them livable again. Does DC have something like that?

    • @grumpy – Thanks. It looks like DCHA is an independent agency, not part of the DC government, so technically they should have had to report the property vacant to DCRA. Once deemed vacant (or blighted) the owner is supposed to be taxed at an elevated level. It’s not clear whether this happened, or whether an exemption applies to this property.

      Another route could be that DHCD’s Property Acquisition and Disposition Division could acquire and dispose (read: auction) the property if they are unable to encourage the owner to rehabilitate it. The next auction of this type is in three weeks:

      @PoP, I called OTR about the Unclaimed Property list and they said it has nothing to do with real property. Their listing is of other property (i.e. bank accounts) for which they were unable to contact an owner. In this case it looks like someone who used to live at 1452 Euclid is the owner of some such unclaimed property.

  • I spoke to a developer about buying some nearly-boarded up hellholes in my neighborhood. He said he approached the owners and got no response. So… it’s not that some developers haven’t tried, but some owners won’t or can’t sell.

    In some cases, the owner is 92, in a nursing home, and doesn’t want to sell cause he or she is planning on moving back in. In other cases, the owner died, and the kids can’t agree what to do with the place.

  • I’m surprised it hasn’t been scooped up already. The last eyesore on my block was bought, flipped, and now there is a lovely young couple living there… not going to tell them about the fire that rendered the house supposedly haunted for the last 30 years…. nope, not going to tell them at all.. just happy it’s no longer an eyesore

  • It is not a developer issue, it’s an owner issue. As a realtor, I have a few developer clients who would love to buy properties like this, but the owners (if clear who the owners are) are non responsive. DC actually had good intentions substantially increasing taxes on vacant and blighted properties to encourage redevelopment, but they don’t seem to be enforcing it strictly enough…especially with blighted properties 🙁

  • If DCHA owns then they are probably planning(in some decade) to convert into housing for low income residents. I have seen a couple of other properties in CH like this. Row house renovations for low income families. Really really stupid allocation of money. Do they not care that no low income family will be able to manage the cost and upkeep of a rowhouse? anyhow, expect this to be an eyesore for at least five more years…until you get crappy new neighbhors who also will make it an eyesore.

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