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Featured here are some of the properties that have realized substantial benefits due to the intervention of Project Rehab.
The owner of two five-story, 18,000 sq.ft. buildings on Chestnut Street intended to develop them into a senior care facility when she purchased them in the mid-1990’s. However, their redevelopment proved to be cost-prohibitive, so she purchased an existing senior care home in Chester, Pennsylvania. In order to purchase the business and its assets, she obtained a blanket mortgage, which encumbered the Chestnut Street properties and the owner may have subsequently forgotten about these properties. Over time, they were stripped of their valuable components; soon several of the floors began to collapse.
When the properties came to UCD’s attention, UCD contacted the owner. After the 15th letter, she responded. She indicated interest in selling the buildings, but it soon became apparent that the blanket mortgage was an impediment to sale. UCD stayed in touch with L&I; without updates from UCD, the buildings would have been categorized as imminently dangerous, fast tracking their demolition. UCD worked with local realtors to obtain offers for a short sale. However, a two-alarm fire destroyed much of both properties, including the roofs. L&I reacted by categorizing the property as imminently dangerous. Demolition would have cost city taxpayers $72,000. UCD guided the owner through an appeals process to slow down demolition and assisted with the negotiation and reduction of the offers on the property.
Settlement took place shortly thereafter. The City of Philadelphia provided the new owner with 120 days to properly clean and seal the buildings, as well as complete his structural drawings and architectural plans. When the buildings are finished they will house 20 apartments and one commercial space. Their estimated value will be between $2.1 million and $2.5 million.
S. 46th Street
In 2007, the property’s out-of-town owner abandoned his third attempt at renovation, leaving it to vagrants, vandals, and thieves. After a fire, the City of Philadelphia boarded up the house, fining the owner with little expectation of recouping the fines.
The property came to UCD’s attention because it was the only vacant structure on an otherwise thriving block. The owner was identified though a background check and after six months of sending letters, phone calls and Facebook messages, he responded. He attended a Project Rehab Distressed Property Forum, where he was introduced to realtors and bankers and appeared to be entertaining options for property disposition. However, months passed without follow-up. UCD passed his contact information to the City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, who sent him notices of years of violations and fines. Shortly after receiving L&I’s notices, the owner contacted one of the realtors whom he had met at the Distressed Property Forum and placed the property on the market. The property sold for the asking price, $150,000. The new owner, with the assistance of UCD, has rehabilitated the property into a fully-rented four-story duplex, valued at over $400,000.
S. 49th Street
Following a devastating fire many years ago, this property remained neglecting as UCD led a rigorous search for the deceased owner’s daughter. Eventually locating her in New York, UCD helped her establish an estate, find a Pennsylvania resident to act as an ambassador, and helped her raise the needed funds to move things forward. UCD then introduced them to several realtors, one of which sold the property in less than 45 days. These new owners – a West Philadelphia-based company – started construction in April 2013. The property is now a beautiful four-bedroom, two-bath home with roof deck, central air and every modern feature possible. It is officially on the market for $349,900.