The houses were involved in two separate fires earlier this year likely caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials” as squatters had been using the old homes that stood boarded up awaiting their demolition to make way for the new microhousing development.
City inspectors met with the Hardy Development Company this spring to discuss ongoing issues at their properties, which are slated for the new 51-unit apartment building. Hardy promised to secure the houses and clean up the properties prior to the fires.
Properties emptied of residents present a problem across the Hill. Since the spring of 2015, paperwork for demolition has been filed for more than 40 different addresses on and around Capitol Hill. Many continue to stand. Owners of vacant properties are responsible for keeping their buildings secure and maintained. Buildings that persistently violate those codes can be placed on the city’s vacant building monitoring program, which currently includes about 250 properties inspected quarterly.
Designed by b9 Architects, the new micro-apartment building is just a short walk from Capitol Hill Station and will feature no parking. How long until construction begins will be the next question for neighbors. The permit for building the project has been issued and is good through October 2017.