Published: Oct 02, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Oct 02, 2012 05:54 PM
The best-laid plans may still be foiled by unforeseen conditions.
For Durham Housing Authority CEO Dallas Parks, the house at 1010 Worth St. was the worst unforeseen conditions Ive ever seen.
As a result, where there was a century-old mill house, now there is only yellow caution tape and a concrete foundation. Some people with interest in the surrounding Golden Belt neighborhood are not amused.
The Durham Housing Authority is a very dysfunctional organization, said InterNeighborhood Council President John Martin, a former Golden Belt neighborhood resident.
Its disappointing how the Durham Housing Authority has been as a neighbor in this community, Worth Street homeowner DeDreanna Freeman wrote on the neighborhood email list.
It wasnt supposed to turn out this way, said Parks and Shannon McLean, development director for the DHA subsidiary Development Ventures Inc.
The property was to be a rehab, McLean said.
The Golden Belt neighborhood is a circa-1900 community that developed along with the Golden Belt textile factory, and is enjoying a robust revitalization in company with the factory complexs renovation into offices and apartments.
Nonprofit agencies have been instrumental in renovating once-dilapidated homes, and in 2006 the Housing Authority bought 1010 Worth St. a 742-square foot house on a 0.12-acre lot planning to redevelop the property as part of its HOPE VI revitalization project in East Durham.
At the time, though, DHA was preoccupied with its own internal troubles (see sidebar story). The neighborhood revived, but 1010 Worth remained, according to neighbors, a boarded-up eyesore and hangout for criminals and vagrants. DHA put it up for bids, got bids, then changed its mind on selling. Finally, in late 2011, the Housing Authority commissioners approved rehabbing and enlarging it, to 1,200 square feet with detached garage, to the tune of $180,000 according to DHA records.
We worked very closely with the (state historic preservation office) and the city because that was a historic property, Parks said.
But when workers began removing the old roof framing, McLean said, they discovered fire and termite damage and wood rot. While they contemplated what to do about that, the front porch collapsed and the entire house frame began leaning to the side. Then, when they started removing damaged floor joists (also unforeseen), the whole house started to fall down around them.
At this point, rehabilitation became unfeasible. Parks said DHA is consulting with the city, state preservationists, architects and engineers to figure what to try next and see whatever we can salvage.
In 2006, the Housing Authority paid $47,000 for the house. In 2008, the county assessed its tax value at $30,723.
And theyve spent demolition costs, and now theyve got a very expensive vacant lot, Martin said. I have a vacant lot down the street, and I would have sold it to them for a lot less that $47,000.