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The Cost of Vacant Houses, Collapses and Demolition

December 9, 2011
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The Cost of Vacant Houses, Collapses and Demolition

The Baltimore Sun‘s Jamie Smith Hopkins, citing this GAO report (pdf download), says Baltimore would need to spend about $180 million to demolish all its dangerous vacant buildings and clear the lots: Officials in Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago, in particular, stated that the resources required to demolish the large number of long-term vacant properties...
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Owner of Collapsed Fells Point Building Speaks

April 5, 2010
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Owner of Collapsed Fells Point Building Speaks

Omid Ilkhan says he doesn’t know what happened. On March 30, a building he owns at the corner of Broadway and Eastern Avenue in Fells Point, next door to the Ritz Cabaret strip club, collapsed, blocking traffic on Eastern Avenue. City contract workers dismantled what remained of the four-story brick structure, which Ilkhan says...
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John Elder, R.I.P.

March 12, 2010
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A reader pointed us to this death notice for John Elder, the former city-employed engineer whose troubles with the law and association with building collapses City Paper chronicled. Elder died March 3. His last couple of years were tough. Besides two investigations by the state Board for Professional Engineers, Elder suffered the death of...
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Jose Morales Update: 262 Months

March 11, 2010
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Jose Morales Update: 262 Months

Jose Morales, as photographed in 2008. | Image by Rarah Jose Morales was sentenced on March 8 to 262 months—nearly 22 years—in federal prison for trying to bring 6 kilos of cocaine to Baltimore on a chartered jet. Judge Randy Crane of the Southern District of Texas heard several sealed (and therefore secret) pleadings...
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Collapse Update

February 25, 2010
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We were wondering how many building collapses resulted from the big snows of a couple of weeks back, so we asked. Cheron Porter, director of communications for Baltimore Housing, e-mailed today with the official count: There were no complete building collapses as a result of the storm. In 14 cases we responded to the...
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Collapse: 2200 Bryant Ave.

January 27, 2010
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Collapse: 2200 Bryant Ave.

2200 Bryant Ave. | Image by Alexander D. Mitchell IV (HT Alexander Mitchell, who supplied the photograph) Neighbors say the city began demolishing this house several weeks ago, but stopped, supposedly to wait for gas and electric service to be cut off. This morning they heard a crash as the building collapsed amid 50...
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What’s Up With Baltimore City’s Inspector General?

January 29, 2009
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We can sort of understand why Baltimore Inspector General Hilton Green might not return our calls promptly. In the fall of 2007, we made detailed and critical note of his failure to follow up on the fairly rampant, fairly blatant phenomenon of building inspectors not doing anything much about shoddy construction, damage to neighboring...
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Property Investor Gets Jail Time for Building Without Proper Permits

January 14, 2009
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Chalk one up, we guess, for law and order on the collapse front. First District City Councilman James Kraft sent us a press release crowing about the 30-day jail stint awarded to Sandford Kreisler, a Manassas, Va.-based, erm, “property investor” who failed to appear for a court date stemming from a case involving a...
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Alvin K. Brunson Day

November 12, 2008
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By city council proclamation, Friday will be decreed as “Alvin Kirby Brunson Day” in Baltimore, according to his sister, Brenda. Brunson lost his life on March 30 when the house he was working on at 562 Wilson St. collapsed. He had hoped to renovate the building into a museum of Pennsylvania Avenue’s Black history....
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$300,000 Rowhouse Collapses in Upper Fells

June 13, 2008
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Daniele Ard says he was working in the bathroom of his three-story rowhouse at 1715 Gough St. when it collapsed. “I just walked out to get my Gatorade,” he says. “And I felt a whoosh of wind. I heard a big boom and a gust of air. I was like, ‘What the hell was...
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Building Collapse Kills Local Historian

March 31, 2008
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Building Collapse Kills Local Historian

| Image by Frank Klein A city-owned rowhouse collapsed yesterday, killing an amateur historian who was attempting to renovate it. The tragedy again raises questions about the city’s monitoring and policing of building permits and its own huge stock of vacant buildings, which have been collapsing at an alarming rate for years. Alvin Kirby...
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The New York Way

March 3, 2008
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New York City has a problem looks familiar to City Paper readers: shoddy engineering work that leads to collapses and injuries. According to today’s report in the New York Times, city officials gave architects and engineers authority to inspect and sign off on their own construction projects–just as Baltimore did. The results have been...
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