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The next big thing in Church Hill is the 1300 block of 27th Street

12/17/2014 10:30 PM by

Back in 2009 I put together 100 Vacant Houses, a chronicle of empty houses across the area. That same year Church Hill North was named the most vacant neighborhood in Richmond, leading the way with 99 empty houses and 32 blank lots. The problem was even worse in Church Hill North by 2010.

While there were pockets of high vacancy along Fairmount Avenue and in Church Hill North, perhaps the most vacant block in the area was the 1300 block of 27th Street.

Beyond an almost 100% vacancy rate, this specific block was faced by all of the larger challenges blighting the area. A 19-year-old man was shot and killed on this empty block in November 2008. A house burned in 2006 and sat boarded and charred years later. Historic housing stock was lost due to neglect.

The future appeared anything but bright for this and the surrounding blocks.

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1310-1312 North 27th Street (2006)

1310-1312 North 27th Street (2006)

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1307 N 27th street (2009)

1307 N 27th street (2009)

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1313 N 27th street (2009)

1313 N 27th street (2009)

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130x N 27th street (2009)

1306-1308 N 27th street (2009)

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Right up against the Bon Secours campus, the situation on this block is in the process of becoming radically different.

In the 1300 blocks of 26th, 27th, and 28th Streets, more than 30 houses have been renovated or built new, or are planned for the empty lots. After 7 years, the house that burned was given an award-winning renovation.

Just north of Better Housing Coalition’s Beckstoffer’s project and Deanna Lewis’ amazing O Street block, one block away from Bon Secours’ planned Health and Wellness Center, and two blocks from the increasingly-likely sounding grocery store at 25th and Nine Mile, these blocks are the epicenter of the next great change up here.

On a warm December afternoon last week a homeowner on the 1300 block of 28th Street (“everybody calls me Red”) was enjoying the day on the porch of one of the street’s older houses.

Asked what it used to be like on the block, she points to the boarded up vacant at 1320 and says, “Like that, it all used to be like that.”

(FACT: 1320 North 28th Street belongs to Clayton Investment Group LLC C/O Stacy Martin. In 2009 they owned over 90 houses listed in the city’s Vacant House Registry.)

It’s different now, Red says. There’s less activity in the street, the crime is down.

Looking across the street at the new houses she says “It’s amazing… it doesn’t seem real.”

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1310-1312 North 27th Street (2013)

1310-1312 North 27th Street (2013)

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1300 block of 28th Street

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1300 block of 28th Street-2

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1300 block of 27th Street

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1300 block of 27th Street-11

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1300 block of 27th Street-10

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1300 block of 27th Street-9

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1300 block of 27th Street-8

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1300 block of 27th Street-6

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1300 block of 27th Street-5

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1300 block of 27th Street-3

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1300 block of 27th Street-2

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1300 block of 26th Street

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1300 block of 26th Street-5

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1300 block of 26th Street-6

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1300 block of 26th Street-4

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1300 block of 26th Street-2

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1320 and 1322 North 28th Street


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