Thursday, August 14, 2008

850 West Street: Bubble for Sale or Rent

850 West Street has been for sale for as long as we can remember. The Asking is $363,000.00 for a 2 bedroom/2 bath house that has its own blog. To rent, it's $1595.00/month. Ouch, either way.

The blog says, "The house is on West Street, directly behind the Vespa store, in a great diverse city neighborhood."

This is the 10th & Page Neighborhood, which today is primarily African American, according to Charlottesville Community Design Center. And we've heard 10th & Page referred to as a lot of things, but never as a "great...neighborhood." Perhaps it became "great" after those candy-colored cottages went up on 10th?

West Street runs parallel to Preston Avenue, which means the house is also behind the Region 10 Community Services Building and near the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, as well as near some auto repair shops.

One of the"improvements" to 850 West Street is a fence that is at least eight feet tall, which runs around the entire property. Which of course makes one wonder, if the neighborhood is so "great," why is this place a walled fortress? Just for fun?

And by "diverse" do the owners mean that the area has recently had a drive-by shooting? Well, o.k., that's an interesting, and new, definition of "diverse." The good news is that C'ville's Finest don't think the shooting is gang-related; the bad news is that it happened approximately 600 feet away from 850 West Street, on 9th Street.

Or perhaps "diverse" indicates socioeconomic status: some properties in the neighborhood have been bought by investors who don't live there and/or have been gentrified, and others haven't.

BTW? We're big proponents of "diversity" in neighborhoods, meaning mixed racially, ethnically, economically, religiously, aesthetically, and in terms of "life-style" choices (talk about a euphemism!)--but not at the expense of displacing families that have lived in the same area for generations, and disrupting a sense of community, due to ridiculously inflated prices.

Whatever the adjectives and their meanings, 850 West Street is unsold and unrented. Hmmm. Pricing, perhaps?

$1,595 x 12 = $19,140 in Rent Per Year.

Sounds like what the mortgage payments would be for the current owners' purchase price of $287,500.00 in June, 2005.

View the Craigslist ad for the rental here.
View the Craigslist ad for the sale here.


Montpellier said...

Hey now! You guys are hittin' on my peeps!

Actually, I have no idea who these people are, but as a gleeful ranter on this blog, who has often commented on the delights of Westhaven and 10th & Page, I have to offer my thoughts on this house, collected over the years (hint: more identity clues).

Once upon a time, I lived on West Main, and this house was on the corner of my favorite cut-through - 8th St. from Main to Rose Hill Dr. Later, I did a brief stint at Region10, when they first moved to the old bank building there. I've watched that house with fascination for years.

The original interesting feature was the Flying-Saucer inspired treehouse artists/writers studio in the back. This is just on the edge of the field of view on the backyard shot at the house blog.

I'm dying to know more about the person who built that - was this a man-cave (well, Spock-cave) of some sort or the exile residence of an unfortunate mother-in-law. At the risk of sounding sexist, it strikes me as...a tad masculine to be the creation of a creative, artistic and whimsical spirit - so unlike the artist's studios one finds in Ivy, the Blue Ridge Hills (Rugby Rd) or Lewis Mountain neighborhoods. To be sure, it long predates most urban renewal gentrification projects in that area. It certainly predates at least the two most recent owners.

The fence has recently (this decade? who knows, time flies) gotten a facelift - more in keeping with the spaceship motif - replacing the old tiki-hut-inspired reed/bamboo matting material with that corrugated steel(?). Again - you can see the remnants in the gate at the back of the lot, next to the spaceship.

I do think this is a structure worthy of a renovation, unless the actual structure has experienced massive water or termite damage. Still, there's no way it will compete above the mid-100s.

As a former resident of that neighborhood (more or less), I have to say: it is an awesome location. I've had some of my very best neighbors ever living there - and the very worst were elsewhere. Of course, I didn't consider the relatively transient drug dealers "neighbors", and I was young and childless.

Obviously, I'm not the only one who's noticed this: there is another bubble sale right across the street (another, more architecturally interesting structure), and two other renovate-and-flips down the street. There's also a complete tear-down and redevelop! I think that means there are really 5 stranded specu-vestors!

Larry said...

10th & Page is The Hood.

PI as the term may be, it's accurate.

The people who bought houses there as "investments" deserve the big losses they now face.

waiting to buy said...

I've seen the craigslist ad for the sale several times.

The price is delusional.

The "blog" is really lazy.

It's one of those weird trapped-in-craigslist land type things that used to show up in the real estate and for rent section before the agents and brokers started crowding the place.

Cathy said...

I understand the reason for characterizing this neighborhood in contrast to this house's price. However, I feel kind of icky about the racism that's implied here. "Primarily African-American" sounds like using the predominant race in the neighborhood as an indicator of housing values. In this day and age, that's kind of creepy. What makes that neighborhood weird to me is the proximity to ugly industrial buildings and little public green space. I'm not sure why race enters into your argument.

Real C'ville - The Bubble Blog said...


We're not saying that the price should be lower because this is a "primarily African-American neighborhood."

The designation of the neighborhood as such comes courtesy of the C'ville Community Design Center, which we linked to so folks unfamiliar w/the area could read a description of it.

We are mentioning that it is primarily AA because those who are "developing" the area are not AA, and the prices are out of reach of most of the long-term residents. We are mentioning that "gentrification" is disrupting an area that has families who have lived there for decades and as such rely on the "community."

This was an "affordable" area for long-term residents until the bubble.

It's a characteristic of most cities to have "mixed" zoning in areas that have been typically low-income and or "minority." Because those are the folks who are disenfranchised. THIS is racist and classist.

We're pointing out that a traditional neighborhood has been transfored by people who don't care about who lives there...just about making a buck.

go dog go said...

Still unsold, still unrented, but rent has dropped to the "reasonable" $1395.00.

Apparently these peeps don't read the local blogs....