Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No news is bad news: work at 1483 Newton, but it's still condemned

1483 Newton is on the left
A couple of weeks ago, a local resident noticed some scaffolding and work at 1483 Newton, the abandoned, dilapidated apartment building that's been the subject of a dispute between owners -- one wanted to sell it and get it developed, others didn't. It's been sitting there looking absolutely terrible for some years now. That led to some hope that they were finally doing something with it. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.

The always responsive Reuben Pemberton at DCRA's Office of Vacant Property had this to say when I emailed him:
They have an active building permit which has to do with the condemnation order.  It  reads as follows:  PROPERTY MAINTENENCE WORK RELATED TO CONDEMNATION NOTICE TO INCLUDE SECURING ALL OPENINGS, BRICK POINTING AND REPAIR WORK, REPAIR AND SEAL EXISTING SKYLIGHT, GENERAL BUILDING CLEANOUT.

So it seems that they are simply securing the property as the BCIB ordered them to do.  I have no new news on a sale but I can try to contact the agent.
A "condemnation order" doesn't mean they are tearing it down, as Reuben explained: 
Condemnation simply orders the property to be made secure, so that no one can get in or out.  The owner must then make a decision to either render the property sanitary, or raze it.  In some cases if he does not fix the property the city will raze it, but those generally are only instances where the property id imminently dangerous to the public.
Here's the whole sad, sorry story of the building. In 2009, I wrote about it being vacant. Later I learned that the owners owed $130,000 in back taxes (!), which led me, Jim Graham and others to hope that it would go to tax sale, meaning somebody who actually would redevelop it could have a chance to buy it. I then learned that the owners had died, and it went to two sisters, who disagreed on what to do with it -- one wanted to sell it and one didn't. That's why it sits abandoned.

There has been some crime in the building, as well. Then we learned that unfortunately, the owners paid the back taxes in May 2011.

In all, it's a sad story. Here's a big building that could be really nice (see above) sitting empty in a neighborhood with a real need for more houses. I hate that this kind of crap happens.


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