Our beloved neighborhood of Shepherd Park is a place filled with charming and well-kept homes. However, we have also had more than a few distressed or vacant properties. None of these homes stood out more than 7800 Morningside Drive NW, which is a large house on a highly visible corner near Shepherd Elementary School.
A Nuisance Property Festers
Concerns about this house first bubbled up onto the Shepherd Park Yahoo! Group in April 2016. Conscientious neighbors like Robert J. noted that the house had been purchased out of bankruptcy court by a developer. Neighbor Rebecca K. wrote in a few weeks later saying, “gutting work was being done at lightning speed, but as of a few weeks ago it has suddenly stopped.”
On August 8th, neighbor Erin S. reported that, “The developer is having a conflict with one of the investors and it needs to be resolved before work can resume.” Apparently, the two parties never worked out their differences. The property stayed in that dilapidated condition, with many windows left wide open, for months.
Thanks to continued advocacy by the community, the property soon came to the attention of government officials. Jasmin Benab, liaison from the Execute Office of the Mayor and ANC 4A02 Commissioner Stacey Lincoln acted repeatedly to get the property inspected and monitored by the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). Mr. Lincoln’s efforts, especially, were key to the community receiving regular reports about the status of the property. In March of 2017, Beth A. noted that a landscaping crew had come and spent the day cleaning the grounds.
This project was obviously at a dead end. The developer, who had purchased the ruined house for $800,000, spent money gutting and holding it, finally sold it off for $670,000 in May of 2017. Lesson learned: Flipping homes is not as easy as they make it look on HGTV.
A New Development Team
The new developer is the Menkiti Group Development Team, whose headquarters is in the Brookland neighborhood. If you are familiar with Brookland, you may know the Menkiti Group has been an active player in the development of residential and commercial property all over that neighborhood. Its website says, “The team specializes in single family and multi-family home renovations, neighborhood commercial development, and large-scale mixed-use transit oriented development with an emphasis on sustainability and affordability.” The Menkiti Group is a member of the Keller Williams Capital Properties network (Note: My wife, Jennell Alexander, is an associate Realtor® with Keller Williams Capital Properties)
7800 Morningside Drive NW On the Market
In just four months, Menkiti Group Development transformed 7800 Morningside from a run-down eye-sore to an exquisitely appointed 5-bedroom, 5 ½ bathroom home featuring coffered ceiling and all the luxury appointments one would expect in the price category. The home was listed on market yesterday for $1,359,000 by Kymber Lovett-Menkiti of Keller Williams Capital Properties . Words alone cannot express how impressive the completed renovation looks. Check out the photos or 3D video. Or, better yet, stop by the Open House on Sunday, September 10th, from 2 to 4 pm.
If this home sells near list price, it will join several others in Shepherd Park which smashed through the $1 million price barrier. Depending on your perspective, that is good news for current neighborhood homeowners.
A Happy Ending
In the end, it looks like this story will have a happy ending. The new developer has returned this vacant property to productive use. We will soon have a new neighbor to welcome into the community. It is important that our community and elected officials stay engaged on the other neglected properties. We do not want them to become more problematic as they await the day they welcome new families as well.