1483 Newton Street

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According to the D.C. Examiner, the city was about to pay $3.1 million for this 32-unit property at 1438 Newton Street.

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham said it best with this line: “That is an extraordinarily high price for a building that it’s not even clear that there are usable walls…The roof is probably beyond reliable use. You’re barely talking about a shell.”

The building is set to be rehabbed as affordable housing. The Department of Housing and Community Development negotiated the deal—-though one has to wonder if “deal” is really the right word to use with this outcome. In any case, the city’s tax office assessed the building at nearly $1.1 million. Another appraisal by DHCD put the market value at roughly $2.9 million, according to the Examiner, which also, apparently, forced the issue into review:

But Neil Albert, D.C.’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, put a temporary, last-second hold on the deal Tuesday after The Examiner raised questions about the price tag.

“We’re taking a closer look in the office to make sure that the price and the appraisal adds up, given the current market conditions,” said Sean Madigan, Albert’s spokesman…

The council passively approved the sale Jan. 1 to Graham’s dismay: The resolution was submitted Dec. 22, one day before members left for recess.

Mayor Adrian Fenty targeted the Newton Street building for redevelopment into affordable units, part of his promise to preserve 500 units citywide. The government has paid a premium to fulfill that pledge — it paid $3.1 million last April for a decrepit building in Brightwood, considerably more than both its market and tax appraisals.

1483 Newton Street

What would you pay for this place?

Photos by Darrow Montgomery