Monday, October 28, 2013

Gentrification? Congress Heights Vistas up for auction.

Congress Heights Vistas
Up for auction Nov 6th at 2:30pm
I'm going to try and keep the editorializing on this one short as I think the auction listing says far more.

But I have to ask, "If 'gentrification' in Ward 8 is on and poppin' like some people claim why did this project fail?" Where were all the "rich" people who are supposedly flooding into the ward en mass buying up every piece of available property and pricing people out of the market?

I suspect (but don't know for sure) that we are looking at a situation where the market turned, actual comps did not match up with the appraisals, homeowners couldn't get loans for the finished units, and then the property went into foreclosure. I repeat, I am just speculating here but that is what I think happened. Maybe one of my real estate reporter contacts (paging Aaron Wiener) can get to the down and dirty of what happened with Congress Heights Vistas? Whatever the case this is not good for the Ward 8 housing market but if I were to be honest this is not completely shocking to me. This tracks with some things I have been seeing with some of the condominiums in Ward 8, issues I have tried to sound the alarm about on this blog to no avail. If there was ever a need for emergency funding it is to get and keep Ward 8 homeowners in their own homes.

As redevelopment occurs next door at Ballou High School
the Congress Heights Vistas is frozen in time and vacant.
No idea who will end up snatching up this property at auction (assuming there is a winning bidder), but I would not be surprised in the least if we are about to have yet another large-scale "affordable" or "transitional" housing development on our hands. I am sure there is a social service provider out there more than willing to step into the breach thanks to another affordable housing grant or a donation. And thus the cycle of pushing "affordable" housing east of the river continues.

The money is in the treatment, not the cure. 

In case you were wondering, I discovered this auction just by doing a search on Remember, I'm a nonbeliever so I wanted to see first hand what the actual "high end" market of  Ward 8 was looking like.  At a list price of $3,297,052 this was far and away the most expensive piece of property currently on the market in the 20032 zip code -- at least according to Remax. Not bad for what could be a 94 single family homes if ever completed, which comes out to about $35,000 per initial unit investment.

The picture of gentrification? 
From the Remax listing:
"AUCTION! Receiver Sale of the Congress Heights Vistas subdivision including 26 new completed units and 68 additional home sites. Existing units include 18 garage town homes with final permits! List price is suggested opening bid (50% of tax assessment). Actual price to be determined at AUCTION! Auction to be held Nov 6th at 2:30 pm at the property. Call for complete details."

From the Tranzom Auction listing:
"The Congress Heights Vistas residential development consists of a 94-unit, 59-lot planned single-family project. Development was originally planned for three phases over a projected two year time frame. Phase I of the Project was completed in 2012. It consists of 26 existing units; 18 garage Townhouses and 8 Piggyback units (stacked two story units). These units received their final inspections / Certificates of Occupancy in early 2012. The 18 townhouse units were recently appraised at $310,000 per unit and the Piggyback units at $245,000 (no garage) to $265,000 (with garage). Congress Heights Vistas has been approved for residential housing on sites ranging in size from just over 2,000 square feet for the Townhouse Units to 1,200/2,000 square feet for the Piggyback Units. Phase II and III plans include an additional 6 townhome lots and 31 lots approved for Piggyback construction for a total of 68 units remaining to be built. Please be sure to download the Property Information Package by clicking on the words under “Documents to download” at the upper right of the screen. By downloading this package you will alert Tranzon Fox to your interest in this property and you will receive emails with any updates on this auction. The package contains information needed to participate in bidding at auction. Plans, inspections, survey, Phase 1 report, architectural plans, specifications etc can be downloaded after signing an online confidentiality agreement."

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Anonymous said...

Those homes weren't built by a reputible builder and from what I understand has significat site drainage issues which is why they were never sold. Also, the homes are directly across from Ballou High School which since DCPS has the worse perfoming test scores in the nation would mean that Ballou is the 2nd worst High School for testing in the United States which wouldn't send investors and middle class familiy's flocking to 4th street. On the bright side with the reconstruction of Ballou and correction of drainage issues is a great Opportunity for for Family's in the area with money to start buying up the properties there to create a core.

Anonymous said...

I had received information about these homes back in 2009 when they were called 4th street vista, I had watch the construction start and stop to never be restarted again. This project has been sitting with no activity for years. I had started inquire about the property at the beginning of the year, even called Ward 8 council office, no one really knew what was going on with the property. The story eventually turned into the developer going bankrupt.

I could be mistaken but, it was my understanding that the homes were to be sold a market rate without all the affordable housing, rent to own and whatever other subsidies that developers are using to fund their projects east of the river, which is why I was attracted to it but may also be why it never got even half way completed.

The Advoc8te said...

I would really love to know what happened to this property. I think both of your thoughts are possibilities.