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A miniseries in which we examine the Mystery of the Vacant Condo.

The property: 738 Longfellow St. NW #108

The price: One-bedroom condos from $179,000; two-bedroom condos from $199,000

The leasing agent: Eugene Gallagher, Gallagher & Co. Real Estate Inc.

Listed since: February 6, 2008

The story: Of the 66 units listed since February of 2008, 12 remain vacant. “We were moving these very nicely and rapidly until the climate of the finance market changed,” Gallagher observes, noting as well that a stricter screening process for potential buyers and the fluctuating availability of HPAP money have proved impediments.

Second Opinion: City Lights editor Mike Riggs, who lives a block from the property, expresses reservations about the neighborhood. “I’m not surprised they can’t sell it,” Riggs says. “MPD had an enormous, generator-powered spotlight right at the corner of 7th and Longfellow. Who wants to pay to go through a police checkpoint every three months?”

Sweetening the pot: Potential 738ers have a couple new incentives these days: the builder is paying 3% of the closing costs; Gallagher is throwing in a storage unit and paying a year’s condo fee (roughly $200 per month, depending on the size of the condo).

The silver lining: Gallagher reports that unit 308 was sold only yesterday. “Adjusting” the price by about $10,000 didn’t hurt.

“I think people are unaware that this location is so convenient—to transportation, to downtown, to Silver Spring, to Columbia Heights,” Gallagher says. The same unit in Columbia Heights goes for $100,000 more and it’s less than a mile and a half away.”

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