Foundation works to give new life to old buildings

Vandalia

While the Vandalia Heritage Foundation was first formed in 1998, the organization remains as passionate as ever in its attempts to revitalize buildings in the area.

Having this organization, which primarily focuses on northern West Virginia, gives individuals and communities interested in preserving their historic buildings and cultural heritage some recourse, said Laura Kuhns, president and chief executive officer.

“Vandalia was about taking a proactive approach to acquiring and preserving historic properties in northern West Virginia, some of which were mothballed for future redevelopment,” Kuhns said. “Others have taken years, and some are still in the works.”

Helping historic buildings and districts adapt to the modern age is important for many reasons, said Brooks McCabe, a commercial real estate developer who works closely with the Vandalia Heritage Foundation. Read more here!

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20161127/foundation-works-to-give-new-life-to-old-buildings

Three New Developments To Watch Along The Ohio River

Shell

Shell faced questions this week at local and state hearings over the new petrochemical plant it plans to build northwest of Pittsburgh. Local officials asked the company about air and water pollution from the plant—as well as how noise, light and traffic will impact the surrounding communities.

Some nearby residents are concerned about how all these issues will impact their property values. But for commercial real estate in the region, one expert says Shell is bringing, if not a tidal wave, at least a “rising tide” of development. Dan Adamski, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, the real estate firm that represented Shell in purchasing the Beaver County site along the Ohio River, says the company chose this spot for a simple reason. “[It’s] primarily because of what’s underneath us—the Marcellus Shale. They like the location on the Ohio River.” Read more here!

http://wesa.fm/post/three-new-developments-watch-along-ohio-river#stream/0

Time-Lapse Photos Show Staggering Transformations Of Inner Cities

Time Lapse

A photographer who has spent more than half his life obsessively documenting American cities is creating an expansive and eye-opening record of how poor, segregated neighborhoods have transformed over time. Camilo Jose Vergara, 71, has systematically photographed the same set of intersections in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities over and over again since 1977. He continues to work on the “Tracking Time” series, and his forthcoming book Detroit Is No Dry Bones will be published later this year. Read more here!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/camilo-jose-vergara-photographer-cities_us_57050cd6e4b0537661882dbb

 

Dear Artists: Detroit’s Abandoned Homes Are More Than Your Blank Canvas

White House

“The White House,” by Ryan Mendoza, was on view at the Art Rotterdam festival in the Netherlands in February. Mendoza removed the facade of an abandoned house in Detroit for his installation, prompting criticism about how it affected the neighborhood it came from.

The Monday demolition of a blighted Detroit home made famous in an art installation thousands of miles away raises questions about the relationship between artists and the communities that inspire their work.

Ryan Mendoza, an American-born artist living in Europe, used the house on Stoepel Street as the raw material for “The White House” at the Art Rotterdam festival last month. He first visited Detroit last year, removed the facade of the house, which was purchased and donated by a local friend, and shipped it overseas. In the Netherlands city, he reconstructed the shell and painted it white. He played Motown hits and projected family snapshots and video taken during his trip to evoke the house’s history. Read More here!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ryan-mendoza-detroit-white-house_us_56fbb88be4b083f5c6060d31

New D.C. legislation will make it harder — and more expensive — for blighted property to sit vacant

DC Legislation

 

It may soon be more expensive — and more difficult — for a property owner to slowly sit on vacant or blighted property in the District. The D.C. Council will take a final vote Nov. 15 on the Vacant Property Enforcement Act of 2016, which was unanimously approved in its first pass by the council on Nov. 1. The legislation, introduced by Councilwoman Elissa Silverman , I-At large, and co-introduced by nine colleagues, would reduce the maximum amount of time a vacant property can qualify for an exemption from higher vacancy tax rates, close a loophole that allows continuous renewal of construction permits to qualify for tax exemptions and require owners of vacant properties to prove they are no longer subject to the higher tax rates. Read more here!

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2016/11/07/dc-legislation-takes-aim-at-blighted-properties.html

Portland First in Nation to Mandate Deconstruction of Historic Homes

Portland Deconstruction

Effective October 31, any one or two-family home that was built in 1916 or earlier or is a designated historic resource cannot be demolished by the typical bulldozer process, but must be manually deconstructed and salvaged.

In response to the demolition epidemic sweeping across Portland, the City convened a Deconstruction Advisory Group (DAG) to recommend a new policy for managed deconstruction.  The goal was to create an incentive to reuse materials from historic homes and reduce the environmental impact of the tons of waste entering the landfill.  Restore Oregon participated in DAG and played a leading role in the development of the new deconstruction policy. Read more here!

Portland First in Nation to Mandate Deconstruction of Historic Homes

BDC purchases former Follansbee Steel site for future redevelopment

BDC, Follansbee Steel

FOLLANSBEE — The former Follansbee Steel location has been shuttered for four years, but it’s about to get a whole new look.

The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle closed on the property for more than $1.3 million Thursday and have awarded a contract for the brownfield remediation assessment to Civil Environment Consultants of Export, Pa., according to BDC Executive Director Pat Ford.

Ford said the West Virginia Economic Development Authority granted a $1.3 million loan for the purchase and the Northern West Virginia Brownfield Assistance Center awarded a $12,500 grant for a boundary survey and Phase 1 environmental assessment required for the loan. Read more here!

http://www.weirtondailytimes.com/news/local-news/2016/10/bdc-purchases-former-follansbee-steel-site-for-future-redevelopment/

D.C. Tightens Regulations on Vacant Properties

DC Properties

It will soon become harder for landlords to neglect vacant or blighted properties under a bill the D.C. Council unanimously passed today.

The measure—first introduced by At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and co-sponsored by nine of her colleagues in December—seeks to maintain such buildings at higher property tax rates (5 and 10 percent more than standard for those determined to be vacant and blighted, respectively) until owners affirmatively prove to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs that they’ve abated issues. Current law requires that DCRA verify that buildings are vacant or blighted every six months, even when an owner has not indicated that they’ve made improvements. This has led to inconsistent enforcement of property laws and consumed inspectors’ time. Read more here!

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/housing-complex/blog/20839403/dc-tightens-regulations-on-vacant-properties

U.S. Rep. David McKinley Advocates For Increase In Historic Tax Credits During Wheeling Speech

david mckinley

 

WHEELING — Rep. David B. McKinley said Wednesday he’ll work with West Virginia’s next governor to push for expanded historic rehabilitation tax credits, while pressing Congress to follow suit. McKinley, R-W.Va., said these credits incentivize private development, and they advocate for the restoration of dormant downtown districts…He cited several local properties revived because of tax credits, and said these buildings now contribute to the revitalization of Wheeling. “How a community treats its downtown is a manifestation of how it thinks about economic development,” McKinley said. “It hurts me every time I see another building come down because I know they could be restored.” Read more here!

http://www.theintelligencer.net/news/top-headlines/2016/10/mckinley-advoates-for-increase-in%E2%80%88-historic-tax-credits/

Children’s artwork shines in downtown Richmond

children's artwork

“This is our first year showcasing children’s art,” said Alicia Gallo, community outreach coordinator for Richmond Main Street. “The community suggested we put children’s art in the windows, and we love the energy.”

The exhibition was the product of a partnership between Richmond Main Street’s annual Art In Windows program and the Love Your Block program. Art In Windows, funded by the Richmond Main Street Initiative and supported in kind by the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission, aims to beautify downtown Richmond by turning empty storefront windows into gallery space for two exhibits each year. Love Your Block, a neighborhood revitalization program, gives grants to citizens who want to improve Richmond neighborhoods through community-led projects. Read more here!

Children’s artwork shines in downtown Richmond