There’s this stretch of 9th street sort of at the fringes of my neighborhood that’s preposterously littered with vacant buildings. My friend Rob Goodspeed has just put together the closest thing out there to a comprehensive map and listing of the properties. The thing of it is that this isn’t really what you’d call an economically depressed area anymore. The residential blocks surrounding this stretch of ninth street have experienced a lot of getrification, and it runs from the Convention Center to the vibrant U Street in the north (and in particular to a concetration of Ethiopian restaurants and shops) and this part of ninth street ought to be an increasingly thriving retail corridor in the heart of the neighborhood.What to do with these kind of scenarios is troublesome. As Rob wrote several weeks ago:
Despite high demand for both housing and retail, a collection of vacant properties can result in a Catch-22: too many speculators can inhibit investment in a neighborhood meaning few owners make money. Without tenants, the properties decay, attract illegal dumping, are easy targets for graffiti, and a host of other problems.
Basically, if there weren’t so many vacant properties, the odds of the remaining properties staying vacant would go down.