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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Side by Side on Sheridan Avenue

Left: 2944 Sheridan Avenue, abandoned and owned by the city's Land Reutilization Authority. Right: 2946 Sheridan, privately owned and well maintained. Left to right: one historic building in the city's JeffVanderLou neighborhood.


Chris said...

You'd think the owner of the house on the right would try to buy the house on the left. Eventually the abandoned house could possibly undermine the occupied house. Perhaps they don't have the money.

Anonymous said...

This picture is the perfect illustration why LRA buildings at $1 are no bargain.

The cost to rehab the left side of the building is obviously more than the adjoining owner can justify, even if they could get the building free.

It's amazing they still live there, probably with terribly high cost fire insurance.

Imagine the nightly fear of vagrants, rats and birds. If ever LRA should prioritize stabilization or rehab, it's in cases like this.

Doug Duckworth said...

Where's the for sale sign? I don't see this on Featured Properties. Shouldn't this be a priority? Has the LRA made attempts to give away 2944 to the owner of 2946?

Anonymous said...

That's nuts. One would think that the owners of the occupied building have an avenue through the courts to get some movement of stabilising this structure at least. Where's the alderman? Where's the NSO? Where's the Building Div.? Oh, wait, I guess we should keep the BD out of this. Frickin' corrupt town. The country got change(well, we think/hope anyway), now we need change in the City. The Dems in the City are no better than the GOoPers nationally, though they are certainly not worse. Corrupt, venal, unable and unwilling to actually help their constituents, authoritarian in their treatment of citizens and their concerns. This City must elect progressive alderman and a mayor who have the intelligence and ideas to lead our podunk little burgh back to viability. Anyone, anyone? *crickets*

andy said...

that is one of the saddest sights I've seen....Thank you for your continued work on this blog.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael for releasing the comments. Reading them together shows an interesting chain of thought.

To Chris - Sure the owner would try to buy the vacant unit. But, unlike John McCain, most people don't own more than one house.

To Anonymous at 9:36, why should LRA prioritize this building when they are so underfunded, they can't do much of anything?

To DD: Every LRA building is for sale. They're just hard to develop, and beyond the capacity of most parties, even experienced developers.

To Samizdat: It's easy to blame politicians and city government. We have to get beyond that.

To Andy: Think this is a sad sight? Get an experienced tour guide and ride around some. There are lots like it. Similar buildings have people living in them. Others have guard dogs for drug dealers locked inside.

Doug Duckworth said...

"Every LRA property is for sale."

"They are underfunded."

If they don't have enough money to market and transition properties to the private sector then they should be dissolved. When there isn't even a sign on the front lawn, then there's a severe problem. Moreover, we have the use tax which funds demolition, while we issue TIF's in order to fund Loughborough Commons' Eminent Domain, yet we cannot come up with a targeted incentive that stimulates the sale and re-use of LRA properties?

It's an entrenched bureaucracy and Downtown priorities. Inexcusable that this building doesn't have a for sale sign on the front lawn and it's not on the front page. And moreover it's rather complacent to say that a company like Millennium Restoration Group couldn't undertake this project under better economic circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Here's where it gets even crazier. If one were to buy the LRA side, it would have to be eventually owner-occupied - NOT rental property. You cannot fix up LRA property to rent. I'm sure there are loopholes, but they're not loopholes my micro-developer spouse knows about. And we have some LRA-purchased property.

PLUS, it has to be fixed up according to certain historic standards. All well and good in most cases, but the living quarters on the right aren't up to those standards. While the unit on the right is maintained, the paint around the windows is not the right color - heck, it shouldn't even be there in the first place! (Looks like they painted the limestone trim green - that's bad.) The brick - which also should not be painted - is probably the wrong color. The windows are not the approved windows, and the list goes on.

So here's where the LRA shoots itself in the proverbial foot, as one anonymous points out. Yeah, you can get that property for a song. But it'll cost you a whole symphony in the paperwork to get it and you can't start fixing it up until you prove to the LRA that you're going to do it "right." THEN, you start spending the big dollars.

Oh, and not all LRA properties are a buck. You may have to pay back taxes which then could be rebated, if you win a rebate lottery.

AND, you have to show progress (which is a good thing) on the building or the LRA simply takes it back.

Good times.

Matt Fernandez said...

You can fix up LRA property to rent with no loophole finding needed. In fact, a lot of LRA rehabs are for rental (Look at ONSL for several examples). I have LRA paperwork sitting next to me that says nothing about rental or owner occupancy as a restriction. You also do not have to work to historic standards unless you are using historic tax credits or the building is within a local historic or design district (Although I would appreciate you do that no matter what). While LRA properties are certainly not easy due to often terrible conditions, lets keep our facts straight.

From the standard pricing list, that unit would probably be $1000. It would actually be one of the better ones in the area making a rehab not nearly as expensive.

Chris said...

That's sad; government regulation should help make the city better, not hinder it.

Anonymous said...

Chris -

How is government hindering making the city better?

Unknown said...

I absolutely agree with Chris. The city makes progress very difficult at times. I've rehabbed many properties in this city and I get a sick feeling in my stomach every time its time to call Housing Conservation.

Once you develop a relationship with an inspector, things can run a bit smoother, but that is often easier said than done. After buying a derelict property, you are expected to prove your intentions. In our judicial system you are innocent until proven guilty. Conservation inspectors take the opposite approach. You're guilty by association with a particular derelict property in their district. New ownership means nothing to them. This is the show- me-state and you better show 'em.

I can understand their position to a point. They must get sick of hearing the same stupid excuses every day. I once told an inspector my plans for a recently purchased four-unit building. It was in terrible disrepair and the tenants were living in conditions unacceptable for dogs, much less humans. His exact response to my plan was, "That's a fascinating story. I've heard it from every other person that's owned this wreck for the last 15 years and I'm sick of it. You've got thirty days. If I don't see major progress on this building in that period of time we're gonna have some major problems."

And I kept my word. There were major repairs in thirty days. Many more than he had actually requested of me in fact. His attitude took much, MUCH longer than thirty days to improve. And there's no recourse. You do what they say and if you don't, your life will be hell.

And that, Anonymous, is how the city can hinder progress.

Anonymous said...

Long post, silly answer. THe city isn't hindering progress. They are responsible for enforcing codes.