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East End News

The 10 most blighted houses in Church Hill

While there has been a tremendous amount of ongoing renewal, the greater Church Hill area still has some of the most blighted houses still standing in Richmond. From reader suggestions and addresses sent in directly, we present to you CHPN’s Most Blighted House in Church Hill 2010

Fairmount and Church Hill North offer a rich field of choices. There were more houses nominated and photographed than are listed; the choices were narrowed as this was put together. This is a strong list of really distressed houses.

The CHPN Editor’s Choice for Most Blighted House in Church Hill 2010 goes to the circa 1890s Victorian at 1200 North 20th Street (seen above). Recently foreclosed upon from notorious slumlord Oliver Lawrence, this house has been vacant for an unknown number of years. The ivy covered corner, peeled back roof, ad hoc window boards, removed rear siding, and general over-all decrepitness combine to make this a really blighted house.

Leave your comment below to vote for the Reader’s Choice Award. We’ll have something appropriate put together and delivered to the property owner.

The address of each property is listed above the photo. Click any image to view larger.

(2) 2902 East Leigh Street

2902 East Leigh Street

(3) 2012 Fairmount Ave

2012 Fairmount Ave

(4) 1608 North 22nd Street

1608 North 22nd Street

(5) 1410 North 25th Street

1410 North 25th Street

(6) 611 North 30th Street

611 North 30th Street

(7) 1312-1314 Oakwood Avenue

1312-1314 Oakwood Avenue

(8) 2508 Q Street

2508 Q Street

(9) 909 North 24th Street

909 North 24th Street

(10) 2117-2119 Cedar Street

2117-2119 Cedar Street

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Magneto 04/01/2010 at 8:33 AM

I’ve always wondered why some of the houses in the 2500 block of Q St. have remained in such a sorry state. Seriously, they’re right across from the 1st Precinct Police Station! I would think that would be a huge stabilizing factor and trigger for revitalization for that section of the neighborhood. I just checked the property records for 2508, and it appears that there was purchase/transfer activity back in July 2009. Maybe there’s hope….

James 04/01/2010 at 9:01 AM

Wow. These places would be better for use in urban exploration than they would as a home.

Phil Riggan 04/01/2010 at 9:03 AM

Without seeing in person (and having to live among these homes) I’d have to vote for the Tyvek house. They seemed to try to fix, only to fail, but it looks worse than if they had never tried.

Great project John, and I like the tone.

leah 04/01/2010 at 9:24 AM

it’s amazing how so many of these houses are right next to or attached to such beautifully restored houses… i vote for #8 because with the brick and the siding, the poor house just looks so CONFUSED.

Matt Conrad 04/01/2010 at 9:50 AM

2117-2119 is probably my favorite house in Union Hill. It’s an excellent example of what makes our neighborhood so unique.

The Patrick Lynch House was built as a single dwelling around 1860, according to the Union Hill historic district nomination completed by Kim Chen. “This 2-story, 4-bay home is constructed from over-sized beige sand bricks. The brick is laid in 4-course American bond on sides with 5-course of Flemish bond between parapets. The brick is laid in stretcher bond on the front facade. The foundation on the west side has brownstone and granite slabs.”

I can’t wait for it to be restored. I guess we should figure out their status and see if we can get them on the tax sale rolls, before they deteriorate further.

Matt Conrad 04/01/2010 at 9:53 AM

Also, the good news about 909 N 24th Street is that a plan for its restoration was presented to the Commission of Architectural Review at its February meeting.

It was built in 1841 in the Italianate style and is known as the William McAllister house.

Bryan 04/01/2010 at 11:20 AM

Unfortunately, these are all good contenders! I think I have to vote for #7, 1312-1314 Oakwood Avenue. Stalled renovation, peeling house-wrap, exposed plywood sheathing, boarded-up windows, its got it all!

katzenjaammer 04/01/2010 at 12:41 PM

That was depressing 🙁

Matt Conrad 04/01/2010 at 2:29 PM

I spoke with the good folks at Southside Community Development this afternoon and the good news about 909 N 24th keeps getting better.

Their plan for restoration of the 1840s home was approved by the CAR and they are simply waiting on approval of their permit from the City to begin work in earnest. Work will start with the construction of a retaining wall to support the existing structure and should begin any day.

Also, I have called Bonnie Ashley at the City Attorney’s office to ascertain the tax status of 2117-2119 Cedar Street. We need to get a move on with that property.

john_m 04/01/2010 at 2:34 PM

@katzenjaammer – Many of the houses that I recall as being really damaged only a few years ago have been fixed up. What got me, really, were the houses that are just gone now. At least the decrepit houses above have the potential to become something livable again.

Lane 04/01/2010 at 2:42 PM

In other good news, the owner of the circa 1856 house at 2120 M Street intends to begin rehab work soon.

wrs 04/01/2010 at 7:33 PM

@Bryan, not only does 1312-1314 have all the charming features you mentioned, it also partially burned in the back a couple of years ago, so add charred timbers to the list.

Matt Conrad 04/02/2010 at 9:11 AM

You’re never going to believe this: I spoke this morning with Mr. Chambers who is the construction manager for Southside Community Development. Turns out HIS FAMILY grew up in 909 N 24th Street, and it is, of course, a very important project for him personally and professionally.

He is in his early 60s and remembers when Union Hill was a full, vibrant neighborhood with families, stores, churches, and interconnected neighbors. Church Hill House housed a tire refurbishing plant at that time. He and his friends played stick ball in the wide part of 24th Street and visited Mr. Bloofield’s store! Cedar Street Baptist was his home church and he delivered papers on a route that wound throughout Union Hill and Church Hill.

Mr. Chambers knew the house was old, but until recently was unaware that it dated from the 1840s. His family lived there for over 50 years and he is looking forward to driving his mother by to see the house, once it is beautifully restored.

Good things are happening and greater things are yet to come!

john_m 04/02/2010 at 5:27 PM

The news about 909 N 24th and 2120 M Street is phenomenal.

matt 04/03/2010 at 9:13 PM

there’s a house on chimbarazo blvd that’s in pretty bad shape. i believe the address is 412 chimborazo blvd.

Glen Allen 04/04/2010 at 10:15 PM

Wow, if these old buildings could talk, can you imagine the stories they would have? I try to envision what life was like back in the day when some of these were built. The architectural detail in some of these great old buildings is a lost art, and an expense few builders would entertain.

sean 04/05/2010 at 7:50 AM

This was in the building permits sections of T-D today…

Southside Community, owner; BBP Investments LP, contractor; 909 N. 24th St., alterations, $58,700

observant neighbor 04/05/2010 at 8:37 AM

These builings DO TALK one said just the other day “Hey come check out this great collection of discarded needles and crack stems I have for sale. I can cut you a deal on used rubbers too.”

Glen Allen 04/05/2010 at 6:36 PM

Observant neighbor, unfortunately you are probably right, for now, but things are looking a little better every day.

alison 04/10/2010 at 10:11 AM

oh yes im excited to see 2120 M!! I was so worried it was in too poor a condition to be renovated and figured they were just going to tear it down.

Houdon 04/26/2010 at 2:49 PM

Still waiting on Southside Community to get started on 909 N 24th St. The permit has been issued:

Elaine Odell 04/26/2010 at 9:02 PM

Regarding 909 N 24th St., may I kindly suggest that we all be a little patient with Southside Community Development Corporation on this project?

Remember, they completed the beautiful restoration on Cedar Street about the same time the real estate market was collapsing. The restored home sits tall and proud, and is a jewel in Union Hill. Last I checked, it’s still for sale.

Southside supported (and very boldly, I might add,) the effort to designate Union Hill as a City Old & Historic District. IMO, they have shown through their words and deeds that they are good contractors, and good neighbors here in Union/Church Hill. And like we would show patience to any of our neighbors, we should extend this to them.

Perhaps I can empathize because I’ve been through a similar situation, in Church Hill North (404 N 27th). We won the condemned 1870 house at city auction in Nov 2008, took ownership in Feb 2009, and are only just now completing the restoration (target date, early summer 2010).

My neighbors on 27th St have been AMAZINGLY patient with our timetable on this project. But they also remember what an eyesore the property was (it would have made the top 10 list above). I know they are inconvenienced by (and tired of looking at) our dumpster, and I know they (as I) wish the house were finished sooner.

But most of the neighbors know it was a gut to the studs, DHR/NPS Tax-Credit worthy project, that also went go thru CAR vetting. And my neighbors, despite how they wish the project were “done already” have been patient and supportive throughout the process. I’m most grateful to them.

Before judging Southside on their timetable for 909 N 24th, please consider the real estate market and how things in construction just aren’t moving as fast as they were a few years back.

I really do believe they are ladies/gentlemen of their word, and will come through as they have before with a top-notch restoration we’ll all be proud of.

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Amy 07/12/2011 at 9:15 AM

2508 Q was demolished recently, if I’m not mistaken.

Magneto 07/12/2011 at 3:22 PM

Amy (#23), you’re correct.

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@ # 22 ‘Elaine Odell’…it would have been even more worth the ‘LONG’ wait had you taken the grey asbestos’ siding off the house. The front of the house is very nice, and the renovation looks great from the center front. And with it still being a duplex, I assume you’ll keep the front maintained.
Don’t misunderstand I am excited it looks a lot better than it did. However, the grey siding still looks horrible.

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