Tag Archives: vacant buildings

This property is more than another abandoned building near Detroit River | MLive.com

This is a row of four townhouses on East Grand Boulevard, three blocks from East Jefferson. If you stand on the sidewalk you can see the Detroit River – right where cars turn to reach Belle Isle. That’s what gives the area its name: Islandview. Paula Gardner | PaulaGardner@mlive.com

Detroit is still a city balancing rapid redevelopment downtown with slowly rebounding real estate market – and 90,000 vacant houses.

Source: This property is more than another abandoned building near Detroit River | MLive.com

Detroit’s 70,000 abandoned homes a treasure trove for rubble-sifting artisans: ‘It’s like a treasure hunt’ | Financial Post

Bryan Mitchell/BloombergReclaim Detroit workers salvage wood from an abandoned house on Elmhurst Street in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Bryan Mitchell/BloombergReclaim

“It’s like a treasure hunt,” said Craig Varterian, executive director of Reclaim Detroit, a nonprofit group that’s stripped and sold materials from almost 70 demolished homes. Floorboards and joists of early 20th century maple, walnut, hickory, fir and even chestnut are prized for their density and fine grain.

As Detroit ramps up demolitions of vacant dwellings, Mayor Mike Duggan plans a reclamation center in a city-owned building to keep tons of rubble out of landfills and create jobs and merchandise. Recycling would become a centerpiece of the city’s blight-removal effort, which is struggling to maintain funding.

Bryan Mitchell/Bloomberg

Craig Varterian, executive director of Reclaim Detroit, walks down a hall lined with reclaimed doors at the organization’s office and warehouse in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

via Detroit’s 70,000 abandoned homes a treasure trove for rubble-sifting artisans: ‘It’s like a treasure hunt’ | Financial Post.

City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight – latimes.com

Neighborhoods where the new strategies have been applied have seen home prices rise 31% over four years, compared with a 1% rise in comparable areas, according to a study by Ira Goldstein of the Reinvestment Fund. The initiatives increased home values by $74 million throughout Philadelphia, Goldstein said, and brought in $2.2 million more in transfer tax receipts.

Philadelphia had been spending millions of dollars a year to tear down vacant properties, and it didn’t seem to be making much headway, said Rebecca Swanson, who directs the city’s vacant building strategy. So in 2011, city officials decided to try a strategy they hoped would prevent properties from becoming run down in the first place.

The city utilized software used by the IRS to track down owners of the vacant buildings. Then the city took the owners to a newly created Blight Court. The door and window ordinance also allows the city to attach liens to property owners’ other personal property, including, in some cases, mansions in the suburbs.

“That was the whole point, to catch them early, cite them for doors and windows, and hopefully that incentivizes the owner to come out of the woodwork and do something,” Swanson said.

via City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight – latimes.com.

Foes of Urban Blight Take Aim at Landlords – WSJ.com

Fantastic article, read the entire piece here. This is a great model for inspiring change, Carol Ott and the artists are heroes in our book.

Baltimore artists have painted murals on 17 vacant buildings, including the house shown. Blogger Carol Ott, who advised them, faces vandalism suits. Jonathan Hanson for The Wall Street Journal

Since early 2009, Carol Ott has run a website called Baltimore Slumlord Watch. On an almost daily basis, she posts photographs of boarded-up or dilapidated buildings and the names and addresses of owners she identifies through public records.

Last month, Ms. Ott was sued for her role in a recent project in which artists painted murals on 17 vacant buildings in the city. Two civil lawsuits filed in state court in Baltimore allege the work was an act of vandalism at two properties and seek $5,000 to restore the buildings to their prior condition.

“We’re using these methods because nothing else has been working,” said the street artist who organized the project with $12,000 from an anonymous donor and goes by the name Nether. He counted it as a victory that one of the 17 properties has since been demolished.

via Foes of Urban Blight Take Aim at Landlords – WSJ.com.