Wednesday, December 23, 2015

75% of the 16 E-500s Properties Have Been Importantly, Substantially or Basically Rebuilt (252)

In recent months, the new owners of 516 E Street -- the Pena Home built circa 1919 -- have
 virtually rebuilt it.

The basic systems -- plumbing, electrical, and the like -- has been reworked or redone, the foundation realigned, the roof replaced, and so on. It is pretty much a new home -- despite the fact that the original layout and “look” have changed hardly at all.

That miracle prompted me to notice that this is not the first time in the recent period that this kind of transformation has taken place in the E-500s.  Indeed, it has happened twice before over the last several years.

Basic Rebuilding: 19% (3 cases). The most recent before 516 E took place next door to it to the north at 522 E, where an even more basic rebuilding was undertaken and completed (images 1 and 2).

And then only a few years before the rebuilding of 522 E, 530 E -- only two doors further north up the street -- was “deep structure” rebuilt and reconfigured inside despite the fact it looks the same as before from the street.


These three are 19% percent of the 16 properties that make up the 500 block of E Street.

Having been able to count to three, I wondered if I could count any higher.

Even if there has not been “basic rebuilding” of the magnitude seen at 516, 522 and 530 E, has there been important or substantial rebuilding at other E-500s properties?  

Substantial Rebuilding: 25% (4 cases).  By “substantial” rebuilding I mean engaging in improvement activity that is not fundamental but still adds significantly to the value of the property in the range of fifty or more thousand dollars. One form of this is to add an up-to-code second unit (e. g. image 3) or physically to expand the main house (e. g. image 4). Other forms include replacing the basic systems of the house and performing corrective work on the house’s foundation. By my reckoning, four E-500s homes have been upgraded in this “substantial” range of rebuilding.


Important Rebuilding: 31% (5 cases). Below the “substantial” level but still far above doing little or nothing, there is important rebuilding. Upgrades and changes in the range of the tens of thousands of dollars have been made, but they are not at the level just described. I would judge five E-500s houses to be in this “important” range.

These include the home in which I reside and co-own with Lyn Lofland at 523 E. Built in 1939, it has not needed some of the upgrades pretty much forced on a number of the older homes on the faceblock. But even so, there have been a number of room remodels, deck additions, and amenity augmentations at 523 and at the four other homes at this level of rebuilding.

Little Change: 25% (4 cases). Last, four homes have had not been rebuilt beyond maintance projects in the several thousand dollar range.

Slum Slide: Zero % (No cases). But it is also critical to observe that these four “little change” homes have not begun to slide into slums. All four remain reasonably maintained even if they have not yet had the benefits of even “important” rebuilding.

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This is, to me, an eye-opening story made all of the more interesting by the seeming fact that no other Old North faceblock has anywhere near this level of rebuilding.

It would of course be interesting to see counts of the kind I have done here on other faceblocks. I would be happy to publish such counts that anyone sends me.