Update: 517 N Port Street

Unfortunately, this is another property where there’s not much to report — it’s still a boarded-up eyesore, devoid of a responsible owner.  You can read the original post here.

However, it does serve as a reminder that the taking of a property by the City is not always a quick and easy process.  Baltimore Housing filed for receivership of this property back in 2011, and they filed to foreclose on the property in 2013.  I have to wonder how much taxpayer money it’s cost thus far to take this property, and whether that amount exceeds the actual value (now and in the future) of this property.

There are no easy solutions to the vacancy problem, despite what some may think.  I just have to wonder about the motivation of someone who purchases a property in our city, only to leave it to rot?  Why bother?  And why foist this nuisance onto the neighbors?

517 N Port Street, on the right.  Note the attractive rehabbed home next door -- would you want to live next to this eyesore?

517 N Port Street, on the right. Note the attractive rehabbed home next door — would you want to live next to this eyesore?




  1. Gene Marck

    You raise a very crucial question……Why do these property owners buy something and then let it deteriorate and drag down the neighborhood? It doesn’t make sense.

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      I wonder if there’s a “property hoarder” disorder. Or maybe it’s a way to feel important…being a large-scale property owner. I firmly believe it’s pathological and has nothing to do with finances or anything else.

    • Diablo

      I can throw in some two cents. This is just a rough potential explanation. I was never a flipper, but I would work in the field. Basically I was the guy who after a property was purchased, come in with my crew, do a rough gut job, figure out how bad it really was, then start fixing the place up. I hate the term “flipper” just because there is so much BS from TV shows about it. You really need to do your homework, the profit margins are not great, and its easy to lose your shirt.

      On the other hand, you can make money and you can leave a very positive mark on your city. Its easy for some major developer to purchase a whole block. Its tougher to read the tea leaves and be a small fish.

      If its a newer owner, I would guess one of two things are going on. The owner may be pot sitting…hoping that a developer or flipper will come in, offer some insane amount above market value. I used to hate running into these folks who thinks a developer should pay extra on potential. I still have to put the money in clown!

      The other thing is perhaps someone thought they could do the flip themselves, got way over their head, and now are stuck. You see that a LOT with people who have big dreams but no clue. Ugh…I have dealt with properties that basically had to get gutted twice because someone decided to not get any permits or even a basic understanding of what they are doing.

      Third…old people who can’t be bothered and their kids have no clue they still have property. People that don’t live in the neighborhood don’t care what happens. I used to call it the Ocean City Crowd. I once had a slum lord drive all the way from OC to complain that my work trucks were parked in front of his abandoned row homes (the a-hole owned about 2/3rd of the one side of the street and not a single place was occupied). He was pissed at us I think because he was hoping John’s Hopkins was going to buy him out and didn’t want the neighborhood getting better (we were nowhere close to a Johns Hopkins property).

      Holy cow…sorry about the long rant. I ain’t in the business anymore and don’t even live in MD. I still follow the city though and happily, have not seen any of my old rehabs on this site.

      • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

        My guess is most of the “pot sitters” will soon lose their properties to foreclosure, receivership, or a good wind storm. Nobody’s paying top dollar anymore, not here, and nor should they in most of our neighborhoods.

        Glad you haven’t seen any of your homes on the blog — maybe that means you did something right. :)

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