Ninth Street Vacant Property Survey

A previous map I made of vacant property owned by a neighborhood church in my D.C. neighborhood has proven a popular and controversial post, attracting views and comments months after it was first published. Although the church does own a number of vacant buildings in the neighborhood, I have often thought they are singled out for criticism for what is a broader problem: vacant property in the District.

In order to broaden the discussion, I completed a vacant property survey on 9th Street from Rhode Island Avenue to K Street at Mount Vernon Square. I recorded vacant buildings (shown below in red) and vacant lots (shown in pink). There are a number of parking lots that I decided to leave off the map.

Collecting this type of data from the sidewalk on a hot summer day and then trying to make sense of it using city-provided map data is tricky business. While I have done my best to ensure accuracy, these maps should not be considered definitive. Any reader who knows of inaccuracies is invited to post a comment below.

Rhode Island Avenue to O Street NW

O Street to Rhode Island Avenue

818 Rhode Island Avenue – Michael D. Sendar, Potomac, MD (Commercial)
819-821 Q Street – Michael D. Sendar, Potomac, MD (Commercial)
1557 – (No record in city GIS data, a building has been proposed)
1555 – Sun D. Qiang, Fairfax, VA (Residential)
1544 – M. Carter, Washington, DC (Commercial)
1542 – U.S.A.
1540 – U.S.A.
1538 – U.S.A.
1536 – Shiloh Baptist Church Trustees, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1534 – Shiloh Baptist Church Trustees, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1532 – Shiloh Baptist Church Trustees, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1528 – Shiloh Baptist Church Trustees, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1526 – Shiloh Baptist Church Trustees, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1510 – Shiloh Baptist Church Trustees, Washington, DC (Commercial))
1505 – Anita Chopra, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1416 – Hirut Amenu, Washington, DC (Commercial)
1414 – Nigist Asfaha, Overland Park, KS (Residential)
1410 – Fessha Mollalign, Gaithersburg, MD (Commercial)
1400 – Huang H. Qing, Flushing, NY (Vacant)

O Street NW to M Street NW

M Street to O Street

1320 – The International Realty Hi-Tech Investors Group LTD Unit 426, McLean, VA (Vacant)
1316 – 1316 9th Street LLC, College Park, MD (Commercial)
1314 – 1314 1/2 INC, Arlington, VA (Commercial)
1304 – Winmax LLC, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1244 – 1250 Nineth Street LLC (Commercial)
1234 – Arts Are Magic LLC, Washington, DC (Commercial)
1226 – Shaw Centre LLC, Bethesda, MD (Residential, Commercial)
1218 – Shaw Centre LLC C/O Albert Ceccone, Washington, DC (Commercial)
1216 – Shaw Centre LLC C/O Albert Ceccone, Washington, DC (Residential)

M Street NW to K Street NW

K Street to M Street

1126 – Joseph Gorman, Washington, DC (Commercial)
1124 – 1124 9th Street LLC, Washington, DC (Commercial)

1116, 1112, 1110 – Square 369 Hotel Associates LLC C/O International Headquarters, 1 Marriott Dr, Washington, DC (Commercial)
1114, 1108, 1106, 911 L St. NW, 913 L St. NW – Square 369 Hotel Associates LLC C/O International Headquarters, 1 Marriott Dr, Washington, DC (Vacant)
1024 – V. Ehrlich, Silver Spring, MD (Commercial)

I counted 34 vacant buildings and 5 vacant lots. Six of the buildings are owned by Shiloh Baptist Church, or roughly 18% of the total number of vacant buildings on these blocks. Unless otherwise noted, the numbers below are addresses on 9th Street NW. The owners were retrieved from the city’s public property tax assessment database, which includes the mailing addresses of all property owners.

I have also included in parentheses the tax class of the properties. The city taxes vacant property at a higher rate — $5 per $100 of assessed value — to discourage speculation. However, a city website on the issue explains property owners can receive exceptions from the higher rate if they meet certain criteria. The laws regulating the registration and taxation of vacant property are governed by DC ST § 42-3131.05-15 of the DC Code, which reads in part:

(b) A vacant building shall not be subject to the registration and fee requirements if it is:

(1) Owned by the government of the United States or its instrumentalities;

(2) Owned by a foreign government or its instrumentalities;

(3) Under construction or undergoing rehabilitation, renovation, or repair, and if there is a valid building permit that was issued within 60 days of the required registration date; provided, that the scope of the permit is not limited to electrical or plumbing work; provided further, that this exemption shall not exceed one year from the date of issuance of the first building permit for rehabilitation, renovation or repair;

(4) In compliance with the requirements of § 42-3131.12 and the housing regulations of the District of Columbia and the owner or his agent has been actively seeking to rent or sell it; provided, that the time period for sale or rent shall not exceed one year from the initial listing, offer, or advertisement of sale, or 90 days from the initial listing, offer, or advertisement to rent; or

(5) Exempted by the Mayor, in his or her sole discretion, for good cause.

Part 13 of that section also reads “The Mayor may cause to be affixed to the property containing a vacant building required to be registered under this chapter a sign setting forth the name of the owner of each unit and any other pertinent information that the Mayor may require to protect the public health and welfare.” I’m not aware of any such signs going up around town.

Author: Rob Goodspeed


  1. GREAT WORK, Rob!!! This is a most informative resource.

    Of course, some of the vacant buildings listed are under renovation currently and will be reoccupied soon. Corduroy’s future home in the 1100 block, 1410 and come to mind, but there are others.

    I wonder about a few of the parking lots that you left off–like the one near be bar and the Wings Motor lot at 9th and Q (I seem to recall it listed as a vacant lot; it certainly doesn’t seem to be an actual car dealership…).

  2. I love these maps with the highlighted buildings, I hope to do something similar for the next MVSNA vacant property update. (where did you get them?) I have a sneaking suspicion that very few of the vacant properties have been changed to class 3. glancing at your list, seems like shiloh is covered in that respect, unless some are exempted erroneously. but how in the world can Sendar’s smelly whore cafe still not be class 3? boggles the mind.

  3. Obviously a lot of these are investor properties, being held on to until they are REALLY worth a fortune. Two options come to mind: (1) squatters rights and more realistically because this is still the U.S. where we worship private property (2) shame — this blog post is a good start, but when I lived in Oakland, CA, the CITY would put up huge billboards in front of abandoned property listing the contact information and otherwise asking them to do something about the abandoned buildings. I don’t know how well it worked, but it was a nice PR stunt anyway. The only ones I ever saw — and I think they had to be declared a nuisance building, either for having drug dealers or seismic issues or something — all were sold and otherwise occupied within a short time, but its hard to say, things were gentrifying rapidly in the bay area and abandoned property didn’t last long. There was such a huge property shortage. (Also, I hate the underlining and all caps for the comments — as a graphic designer, I can say that it makes the whole thing impossible to read and goes against at least two laws of good legibility and design.)

  4. Hi Rob,

    I happened upon your blog and noticed you had 1126 9th listed as vacant. It’s not vacant at all and has had the same family HVAC supply business operating there since 1958. I know this because it’s my family.

    Things are finally coming around and old neighborhood is really coming together.

    Thanks for interesting information.

    Ann Diggs

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