Peter Bonnell of Urban Investment Partners informs me that on December 21 they went to settlement on this longstanding nuisance property. This is good news! It has been a very long struggle by the neighborhood, ANC, and myself to get this property back into productive use. We are not there yet, but this is surely a critical step.As you may recall, 1483 Newton has long been in a bee in my bonnet (if I wore a bonnet) -- it's a big building that could be potentially very nice (see its neighbors at right) but has long been abandoned.
The owners were relatives who inherited it after the owner died, but they couldn't agree on whether to sell it or what, meaning it just sat, got more run-down, and collected tax bills. That delay, which seems to be as long as anyone can remember, resulted in them owing more than $130,000 in back taxes, which they did pay off, the property getting taxed at the higher, blighted tax rate of $10 per $100 assessed value, rather than $1 per $100, and finally getting threatened with condemnation. The place was apparently also a place crooks used to look through stolen merchandise.
But finally in the case of 1483 Newton, the owners came to their senses.
I've written about 1483 Newton many, many times before, and it's an interesting, if frustrating, saga. I guess you can't do much to force people who don't want to do anything. Thanks to the ANC, DCRA, and Jim Graham for keeping on this.
I've long been an opponent of abandoned buildings (see the Abandoned House Watch series) -- they mean that building can't be used for something useful like housing or businesses, they mean the city can't collect tax revenue there, and they're eyesores -- and as above, they can be havens for crime, too. But abandoned buildings can always be saved -- the abandoned first house on my blog's masthead, for example, is now a nicely renovated building with residents.
But that requires all of us to help. If you see an abandoned or derelict building, please report it! The more reports, the better. And it never hurts to email Jim Graham and tip me off about it, so I can see if I can dig up anything on it.