What's the deal with this building? How can I find out?
February 12, 2015 7:21 AM   Subscribe

There is a building in Woodley Park, DC that looks completely normal from the front and burnt-out and abandoned from the back. I lived a few doors down from it for about 15 months and never saw anyone go in or out of the back part of the building. Any idea what the deal is, or how I could research this?

I think the address is 2816 Cathedral Ave NW. All I can learn from the internet is that it was sold as a condo building.
posted by capricorn to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The DC Tax assessment information is available here. It shows the owner and some other information.

When I lived in DC there were definitely some buildings with weird things going on. It can be hard to figure it out.
posted by procrastination at 7:42 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is there an HOA, Neighborhood Association, or other entity that mandates certain street-facing aesthetics? It's possible the owner is doing the bare minimum in the front of the building to avoid getting fined, but that there aren't any rules about the backyards, hence no visible upkeep or maintenance.
posted by trivia genius at 8:36 AM on February 12, 2015

Best answer: Following the link in the first answer, the property tax is being paid there is a senior citizen program in effect on the taxes. It doesn't look burned out to me in the photo, just run down (the brown stains seem to be rust from something on the roof, maybe a rain gutter). I suspect it is inhabited by an elderly person who is having a tough time maintaining the place.
posted by exogenous at 8:40 AM on February 12, 2015

Best answer: It doesn't look burned out, it looks like the roof has some damage/poor maintenance along the back of the house -- that stain on the back is the rust running down the siding. I'd guess that the top floor suffered some water damage and they're just not using it as regular living space.

Less aesthetic upkeep on the rear of a rowhouse is pretty typical, and fixing stuff like peeling paint on windowframes is the sort of non-emergency repair that gets put off.
posted by desuetude at 10:13 AM on February 12, 2015

Concur with desuetude & exogenous. I've definitely been aware of "abandoned" fire-damaged buildings in DC that were in commercial use, but that just looks like a normal if undermaintained house.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 6:21 PM on February 12, 2015

As others have said, that's not a burned-out house. The windows appear to be intact and some of them even have curtains in them. These are burned-out houses.
posted by brianogilvie at 10:41 AM on February 13, 2015

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