Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kennedy Street Woes

What could make a neighbor wistful about a large subsidized housing project that is planned for the site of a once historic building? A giant, trash-filled, oozing hole in the ground where the building once stood. One year after plans were released, Washington Communities Inc. (WCI) demolished a dilapidated, historic apartment building (pictured below) at 809 Kennedy Street in January to make way for a District-subsidized housing project. Shortly after demolition, neighbors notified authorities about a smelly, gray, leaking liquid left over after the building came down. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) investigated the property, gave the owner opportunity to respond, and is now fixing the problem with District contractors. District officials intend to file upwards of $10,000 in fines and costs for the muck-filled carcass that it was left to clean when the site was seemingly abandoned.

Michael Rupert, Communications Manager for DCRA, said his team is currently on site cleaning the mess left behind by the contractors, New System Demolition and Excavation, and will probably be busy for at least another three days. New System tore down the building, but quit before removing any of the debris when the property owners allegedly failed to pay for the demolition and cleanup. Since January, debris of brick, wire and metal have filled in the empty foundation. When the snow melted and rain came, the foundation filled with run-off, hence the ungodly smell filling the street.

Sadly, the owner tore down the 2-story, 16-unit apartment building, with some architectural significance, partially because DCRA required the demolition in response to complaints about derelict living conditions in the former housing project. The former landlord - owner of what the Washington Post called "one of the most troubled buildings in the city," and that has now left a rotting cesspool in its place - plans a 70-unit affordable housing project on site. Subsidized, presumably, with tax dollars. According to DC tax assessment records, WCI President, Richard Deeds has owned the property since May 2002. DCRA will recoup costs by placing a lien on the property, which will either be paid in any sale of the property or levied against next year's taxes, according to Rupert. Until the contractors complete draining the stagnant water and removing debris, the actual total cost is unclear.

WCI previously bought out the building's tenants following complaints of below-freezing temperatures from residents, critiques from the DC Council and a lack of funds of DCRA. Kind of makes you pine for the handsome building the city let them tear down without, it seems, much of a plan.

Washington, DC real estate development news


Anonymous said...

what a waste. Again, HPRB sweat'n some shutter colors in Georgetown while poorer neighborhoods get eaten away.

IMGoph on Apr 2, 2010, 7:59:00 PM said...

absolutely makes you pine for the old, handsome building.

and richard deeds should rot in a jail cell somewhere, chewed at night by rats, for the rest of his worthless existence.

Anonymous said...

I think we need this building in our neighborhood. I want more new buildings not more complaining about it not gettin done.

Get a life!

Anonymous said...

The old building, which I live behind needed to go. it is amazing that a developer who is trying to invest in our community by building a new apartment for the the local residents, in a neighborhood that desparately needs and wants it is getting this kind of incorrect press. This appears to be because of a sham contractor like Ronnie Keen at New Systems Demolition and Excavation. New Systems Demolition, the contractor obviously did not do his job and should face a judge over this. I live down here, and I have watched and talked to these guys and happen to know the contractor hit a fresh waterline and blew it off, then lied about it to DCRA. I was told the developer made several requests to WASA and DCRA to help resolve the problem.

no other developers are helping us out here on kennedy street. Call Ronnie Keen and tell him to cut the scam. By the way, why did the city bring him in to do this. New Systems Demolition is the one that created the issue. Is this a scam by keen?

Anonymous said...

There is interesting commentary here, with the exception of the juvenile who is sitting around, playing his xbox and pining for all things 'handsome'.
Seriously, I don't know how anyone can judge the character of a deal without being informed fully. To IMGoph, I say, grow up. To fellow DC residents and real estate professionals, I say we need to look very closely at the contractors and be careful not to bury the developers, who are incurring great risk to invest in our city's betterment. Don't do what's easy, do what is right! My understanding of this puts blame squarely on the shoulders of the contractor hired by the developer.

IMGoph on Apr 14, 2010, 9:58:00 PM said...

grow up? c'mon, anonymous. you're apparently rather schizophrenic, as you've posted 4 times here, and have contradicted yourself multiple times. i don't know how you have the time to come up with such varying opinions all under the same name. you should probably seek help.

DCMetroContact said...

I'm not afraid to post my name here, I just choose not to until my research is complete. Just so you are no longer 'confused', I am now using a screen name as meaningless as yours. I wonder if you've re-read your posting? It truly reads like a raving lunatic, or two. Perhaps you are the anonymous poster? I'm a career journalist researching this contractor for a real major media outlet. I appreciate your interest, and would suggest you do your research and act like a professional. Posting comments that a man should rot in jail, be chewed by rats, etc....It's just not professional. Do you tend to solve disputes in that way all the time - name calling and personal attacks? This is my second posting regarding this matter. If you wish to believe you are the only interested party here, that IS ok. I don't want to spoil your good time on this. Cheers!

IMGoph on Apr 15, 2010, 10:47:00 PM said...

dcmetrocontact: i'm glad to hear you're a professional journalist. i assume this means that you work in some sort of print medium, or are new to the internet. there is a difference between anonymous and pseudonymous. i post using a pseudonym, not anonymously.

as you probably also noticed, this is a blog, and in blog comments, we often go a little over the top. do i want this guy to rot in a jail cell? eh, probably not, but what the hell, i'm not trying to cultivate some kind of relationship here. best of luck with your work.

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