Partial Building Collapse at 117 New York Ave, NW

by Prince Of Petworth June 11, 2014 at 8:24 am 24 Comments


‏@smarmyliberal tweets us the photo above:

“You guys see the collapse at 117 NY Ave yet? The ever-popular Taja Construction pulled the foundation out.

This after months of Taja breaking regs, us calling the cops, us telling him this exact thing would happen.”


“117 NY Ave, one floor collapsed in building. NY Ave west at North Capitol.”

“6:04 AM – @DCPoliceDept @DC_HSEMA – All lanes open at NY Ave Westbound at North Capitol. Heavy traffic remains.”

  • This looks like it would make for a great caption contest

    • overonhst

      “Oh, no, not again!”

  • Anonymous

    What a bunch of toolbags. I genuinely hope that the city stops granting them building licenses – pulling out the foundation seems inexcusable in this context.

  • I’m not familiar with Taja and don’t see any other posts about them on PopVille. What are their previous transgressions? Just curious.

    • Paul

      The garish pop-up McMansion at 1429 Meridian Pl NW is one. I went through the open house and you could tell just how shoddy it was. Sure enough, the upstairs unit leaked and caught fire between the ($1M+) offer and closing. @HonestAbe: Taja and Michael Watson are not “inexperienced.” In fact, they get away with this all the time, intentionally pissing off neighbors in the process. As long as DCRA is asleep at the wheel, and staggeringly naive buyers pay millions for cheap pop-ups without researching the builder, it will continue.

      • JS

        The sad thing about 1429 Meridian isn’t that it’s a pop-up; that thing was built on an empty lot and apparently intentionally designed to look that way.

  • Anonymous

    Best thing is go into the actual offices of the regulators and you might get some swift justice. I once had a contractor that screed up big time resulting in lots of damage. They balked at stepping up (though one of the workers was literally on tears because of his screw up). After getting no relief I went into the DC regulators offices and somehow very quickly ended up in the corner office of the top guys. He called the the contractors and said if he did not have proof of insurance on his desk within one hour and my situation immediately handled, he’d pull their license. Amazing how fast they jumped and resolved everything. Hopefully someone follows through on dealing with this apparently highly irresponsible company.

  • Anonymous

    It does seem that DCRA completely ignores some things but harasses others mercilessly. I wonder what that is about. I have several horror stories from my neighbors of how DCRA made their lives miserable in trying to get permits for things and showing up for inspections, but I have other neighbors who have their bathroom drains and laundry room drains shooting out into the alley way every day with the water running down to the street sewer eventually and multiple calls have not gotten DCRA to come out and see what that is about. I suppose it is to be expected for DC the district of corruption lol

    • brightwooder

      I often wonder about that. Our house was a flip, and had some serious plumbing issues (one being that they drilled a hole straight through the main pipe and left it there, sealing up the wall!) we discovered a month after purchasing. Fortunately my father is a professional, and when he looked at the damage he said there is no way there could’ve been a plumbing inspection. We contacted the plumber who “did the work” and he admitted he didn’t actually do the work, they just used his license number to pull a permit. The seller of the house does a ton of business and is an arrogant jerk. We went to him about the damage and he said “it was fine at closing,” but when we mentioned that we couldn’t believe this shoddy work passed inspection, he freaked out and offered to fix everything. Guarantee you he is paying someone off at DCRA.

    • Anonymous

      Harasses? Who? In Shaw East, there are dozens of houses with DCRA permits in the windows. The permits perch like cockatoos, and yet no work is done for six months or a year – when a fresh permit goes in. These are abandoned houses, blighted houses, just sitting there, while good citizens improve the neighborhood. Owners playing this game avoid the higher tax rates on falling-down properties, and DCRA does nothing. What does it take, to get some harassment going? Sure, the agency is busy, and the people are good, but we’re losing millions in proper tax rates and millions more in vacant, blighted properties.

  • dcreal

    Wow. I was stuck in traffic on Monday and was looking inside of that house and was saying to myself that they’d be better off tearing down and staring from scratch.
    Question about the house next door–I’ve seen few houses now with a door on the top story that doesn’t leads to NO balcony. Is that up to code?

    • textdoc

      I get the impression that “code” applies more to how buildings are built (or renovated), and not as much to what happens to them down the road.
      I’d imagine that if a landlord were renting out the building, he’d be expected to have that door locked or otherwise put out of commission. If it’s owner-occupied, though, I don’t know that there’s a requirement to do anything about a door leading to a nonexistent balcony.

  • Honest Abe

    Honestly, I think we will see this happen more and more as inexperienced contractors get into the development frenzy and try to maximize square footage on every house they renovate.

    Hope the neighboring homes were not damaged.

  • textdoc

    I wonder if this was the construction company’s way of accidentally-on-purpose destroying the building so as to be able to raze it. (Although I don’t think it’s in a historic district, so maybe not.)

    • Beau

      that’s exactly what I was thinking – like the historic houses that were supposed to be transported but were irreparably damaged.

  • johnathon

    search for “taja” on frozentropics.

    …poor excuse for a company.

  • ET

    Well if the what is left has to come down then the company gets to do what it likely wanted to do all along, tear it down and build new from scratch. It may end up being that they get rewarded for failures.

    Sort of seems a corollary to demolition by neglect principle….

  • anon

    Has anyone seen what’s going on at Mt. Pleasant & Hobart? Must be Taja. Initially it looked like they were (illegally) demolishing the historic building. It subsequently got shut down for runoff from the site, but they kept working and a worker was injured (seriously enough to be taken away by ambulance) and the site appeared shut down yet again. Now it appears that they’re building around the half demolished historic building, and from what I can tell, not using proper construction techniques whatsoever. I can’t imagine it could possibly be structurally sound.

  • SF

    These guys are the worst. WORST. Look at the disastrous renovation of the Sun & Moon building at 14th & H NE as a prime example. It’s been years and nobody will touch it.

  • monkeydaddy

    Here is one of the Taja Construction projects we discussed on PoPville: https://www.popville.com/2014/03/massive-pop-up-on-k-street-ne/

    Considering what their projects look like when they don’t collapse, maybe this outcomes was for the best. (Just kidding, this is terrible for the owners, neighbors, and community.)

    • textdoc

      I liked PoP’s “Ed. Note: Yikes.” on that one.
      There were some great comments in that thread, too.

    • Anonymous

      The K St one is for sale and I don’t think looks too terrible now.

  • Peter

    They cracked the foundation of the house next to their 4 story pop-up between 6th and 7th on K. They blew out everything but the facade in a day with a bulldozer and had a stop work permit almost immediately. I assume they exceeded their demo permit but they know that nothing will happen once it’s done. Complete jackasses.

  • Joyce Paul

    We expect Taja Construction to pay for residents living at 115 NY Ave and 119 NY Ave. for their having to leave their homes and stay in local hotels. It is my understanding that this is not the first time for this construction companies negligence.


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