Update: 1400 Block, Wicomico Street

We’ve reported on this sad group of houses in Washington Village a few times — they’ve been abandoned since being taken over by “investors” back in the late 90s.  We’re happy to report that the City finally decided to do the right thing and demolish them.  It would be nice to see a park or other open space on that land, but it’s a rather isolated industrial area — so it will be interesting to see what actually happens once the rubble has been cleared away.  We’re considering this a semi-win so far, since this is the first real effort the City has made to do anything about these homes since we first reported on them in January and February of 2009.

Here’s what they looked like in November 2009 (note the condemnation notices):

1448 Wicomico Street

1450 Wicomico Street

1452 Wicomico Street

1454 Wicomico Street

1458 Wicomico Street

And here’s what the block looks like today:

1400 Block Wicomico, Demolition

Interior wall of 1448 Wicomico Street, and pile of rubble

1448 Wicomico facade

12 comments

  1. Charlene

    It’s a shame that investors will invest in an area then abandon the homes. My husband and I drove down near the large cemetary, I think it’s at the end of North Avenue near John Hopkins….it was a couple of years ago….anyway, the whole area looked like a war zone. We turned down one street and there were maybe 50 homes and only one occupancy on the whole street. So much potential and waste! It was a true eye opener. I felt horrible because I could only imagine what great neighborhoods these places once were and how beautiful the houses had been.

    • slumlordwatch

      This is one of the reasons why we’re pushing so hard for the split-level tax rate. Slumlords and others who destroy neighborhoods should not be taxed at the same rate as law-abiding property owners. The extra tax money could be set aside to pay to fix the damage done to communities.

      • Charlene

        Excellent idea! I live in the Harrisburg area and see the same instances happening here in our city. If the project works in Baltimore perhaps other cities can adopt the legislation. Talk about shovel ready jobs!

      • slumlordwatch

        That’s the idea — thanks for your enthusiasm. I love Harrisburg, and it has so much potential — it’s a great little city.

  2. Pete from Highlandtown

    I’m just curious.Who the heck is “Total Rehabs” and why are they allowed to plaster their yellow sighns all over nearly every abandoned rowhouse in Baltinore ?It’s not just a couple of buildings.They must have thousands put up!

    Are they even licensed?

    • slumlordwatch

      Actually, they’re not allowed to put those signs up. So if you see them, feel free to call or email your city council representative and demand that they have the signs removed — or you could take them down yourself, as I do.

      The “We Buy Houses” signs are usually slumlord “investor” types who are looking for leads to pass onto other “investors” — like a low-rent pyramid scheme. Both “Total Rehabs” and “We Buy Houses” businesses are shady as hell — law-abiding contractors don’t advertise by putting up signs by the thousands in abandoned neighborhoods. They do it because they think nobody is paying attention.

      • Pete from Highlandtown

        Thank you for your reply. I used to know some guys that worked for a local non-profit and they actually had a contest to see who could tear down the most of these sighns.I forgot who won .But i did see the pile, and they did collect a few hundred of them.Sadly there are hundreds left.I haven’t been to many poor neighborhoods outside Baltimore.But i have a feeling that we have more of these types of sighns than most other cities.

  3. M

    How disappointing! I hate destroying history, I really do. I also hate destroying architecture in a city where it’s architecture forms its character. Beautiful Old Rowhouses gone to waste, and it makes me so sad.

    • slumlordwatch

      While I agree with you on one level, these homes were located smack in the middle of an industrial area, and had been abandoned for many years. Structurally unsound, they needed to go before they collapsed on their own and injured someone. Demolition of old homes should be a “remedy of last resort” — and I think it was time for these homes to go.

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