Monday, May 13, 2013

Okay, now what's the real price?

There's a building sitting empty in a city neighborhood. It looks good on the outside, but word is the inside is a real mess. If it doesn't need a total gut renovation, it needs something pretty close to one.

A real estate company has an "available" sign in the window, but calling the number on the sign just leads to voice mail. Neighbors say the owner is offering the property "for sale" at a "not_really_for sale" price of $1,000,000.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the city assesses the land value at under $8,000 and the value of the improvements at under $20,000.

The building has sat mostly vacant for over ten years. It's in the heart of an improving commercial area, so it's a drag on the neighborhood.

Complaints from concerned citizens have been piling up against the property. Since 1996, the place has been the subject of 38 Citizens' Service Bureau complaints, beginning with rat infestation. Building Division inspections in 2012 yielded 20 code violations.

Today, the grass and weeds in front of the building have grown to over a foot in height. The sidewalks around the building are cracked and crumbling. The owner lives in a neighboring municipality, one or two counties away. Plain and simple: it's an absentee-owned eyesore.

It's properties like these that test the system.


christian said...

The property owner should be made to feel the full weight of political pressure and the city nuisance ordinance. If the property is exerting a negative influence on the community as a locus for crime, blight, and nuisance behavior, the owner is subject to fines and court summons. This would be the first approach; the second, and perhaps more complex, would be to get the property redeveloped.

Anonymous said...

I know where you're talking about; the city of St. Louis refuses to punish "businessmen" in this city. Nothing will ever be done to the owners.