Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray
Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Water-warped baseboards, roaches, and stained carpets are among the many issues still plaguing units and public areas at Park 7 Apartments.

More than a month after City Paper first reported on residents’ unanswered demands for developer and owner Chris Donatelli to make repairs and improve conditions at the 375-unit building on Minnesota Avenue NE, Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray sent a letter rattling off the remaining issues.

They include: dead bugs in the ceiling lights, loose and stained carpet, burnt out lights, mouse holes near the trash chute, a broken window, expired fire extinguishers, and an “offensive odor” in the first floor hallway, among others.

The letter, dated Sept. 16, is the second list of demands Donatelli has received in two years. The first came in October 2018, when more than 100 residents threatened to withhold rent. Gray’s most recent letter asks that the issues be resolved by Sept. 30.

D.L. Humphrey, the constituent services deputy director in Gray’s office, says he’s spoken with Donatelli, who has started addressing the items on the list. 

“He’s started with cleaning on weekends, and as far as the roaches, he has an exterminator coming out three days a week,” Humphrey says. “I’m going to walk through with him next week. We’re following this bi-weekly.”

Donatelli says via text that he’s working to complete the items. “We are making progress, and the councilmember’s office is holding us accountable. Overall, an improving situation,” he writes.

Shanel Wilson, a Park 7 resident who pointed out many of the issues to Humphrey during a recent walk through the building, is hopeful Donatelli will meet the Sept. 30 deadline, but, she says, “the issue is making sure the upkeep is consistent.”

“This has been going on for over a year,” she adds. “We’re supposed to come home to a peaceful, secure dwelling place.” 

About a year ago, Wilson began withholding her rent to leverage Donatelli to address the issues with the building. Park 7 sued Wilson for nonpayment of rent in August. She is currently paying her $1,150 a month rent into the court registry while the case is pending.

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