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Randolph Towers' new look.

Back in July, I wrote about a large building on Randolph and 14th Street NW that had tried to go through a tenant purchase before the real estate crash, got in way over its head with renovations, and ended up desperately trying to get renters to qualify for the city assistance and loans they needed to buy their apartments.

Things have not improved. In fact, they’ve worsened considerably.

On March 30th, all but 17 of Randolph Towers’ 146 units are scheduled to be sold at auction, with $17.783 million (plus interest, advances, late charges, and expenses) owed on the note to EagleBank. If the bank goes through with the sale, all of the more than 70 remaining tenants could be evicted, and their units sold at market rate.

How did Randolph Towers get into this position? There were communication issues among the tenants and their housing counselors, as I originally described. But the other problem was the even after a glitzy marketing effort, EagleBank refused to let market-rate buyers close on their contracts, saying the sale prices weren’t high enough to result in a full repayment of the loan.

The lawyers are looking for another lender to forestall the sale, but things aren’t looking good. So if you want to live in a newly-remodeled condo, you may soon be able to buy one at a price as high as the market will bear, with its low-income former tenant expelled.