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Tuesday, June 14, 2016
While there were no commercial demolition permits issued last week, there was one residential project that happened to catch our eye: 2607 Sadie Hopkins Street, a small, 896 square-foot home in Southeast Raleigh.
County records for the home indicated that property taxes had not been paid since at least 2009, and when I went out to the site on Sunday, it did not appear as if anyone had been living there for quite some time.
Those same records indicate the property is owned by the heirs of the home’s second owners, Elvin and Esthel Rogers, who purchased the small, single-family home located in Southwest Raleigh near the intersection of Tryon and Lake Wheeler on August 29, 1966.
The conventional-style home with aluminum vinyl siding was first built in 1954, when it appears the land was owned by one Elizabeth King. A deed from December 9, 1955, when King sold the home to Mable Vandergrift, indicates that the property was part of a larger subdivision owned by R.W. King, whose name is also listed on the 1955 deed.
R.W. and Elizabeth King appear to have been prolific residential real estate developers/owners in South Raleigh during the early-mid 20th century; Wake County records indicate R.W. acquired about 38 properties between 1906-1962, with Elizabeth King racking up a total of 15 through 1969.
While it is plausible that someone was purchasing real estate into what I imagine was their 80s, there is one important caveat to note: there are much more recent listings, up through 2015, where R.W. and or Elizabeth King are listed as the buyer. And Elizabeth King’s oldest purchase dates back to 1886. We doubt the same person who bought land in 1886 was still out purchasing property 80 years later.
The two most likely possibilities are that R.W. and Elizabeth King are both common names, and therefore some of these records are wholly unrelated, or they both had descendants named after them who went on buying land in Raleigh.
Whatever the case may be with the King family/families, it’s the descendants of the Rogers family who own the 2607 Sadie Hopkins property. Considering it had been at least six years since the tax bill was paid, I decided to see if the City Council had ever addressed the issue directly.
It turns out they had, and the story is pretty tragic. On June 15, 2015, a hearing was held at City Council in order to determine whether 2607 Sadie Hopkins, which had been deemed an “unfit property” should be demolished. I don’t want to trivialize this at all, so I’ve included the full minutes from the hearing below.
To summarize, the property is owned by an incarcerated, mentally disabled adult, and was being regularly broken into by another member of the family. Councilors issued an ordinance stating that the property needed to be repaired or demolished within 90 days.
Anthony Rogers (no address provided) — Mr. Rogers stated he has power of attorney for Elvin Rogers, Jr., who is incarcerated and is a mentally disabled adult. The problem has been trying to find other people to help with financing. He has boarded the property and posted No Trespassing signs. A family member from the other side of Elvin Rogers’ family keeps breaking into the house and Mr. Rogers has to go to the property and have the family member arrested. The man is currently charged with breaking and entering and trespassing.
Mr. Rogers said the nuisance property is not this one, but the property next door which contains a shade mechanic shop where they sell drugs and do a lot of other things. That property is owned by Marion Robinson. Mr. Rogers has told the housing inspector that no one has permission to be in or on Elvin Rogers’ property. Mr. Rogers has done everything to repair the house which the housing inspector asked him to do except the electrical work, because he did not have the funding. He has now listed the property for sale to eliminate this problem. Mr. Rogers asked for an extension of time because Elvin Rogers, Jr. needs funding for his welfare when he is released from jail in February 2016.
Housing and Neighborhood Preservation Inspections Administrator Ashley Glover stated the case was initiated in January 2014. The property has been vacant and closed for over a year. Staff is requesting that an ordinance be adopted ordering the property to be repaired or demolished within the 90-day time period, which should give Mr. Rogers time to sell the property. He may need to come back to Council and request additional time for repairs, but at this time, staff recommends adoption of the ordinance. Mr. Rogers said he has no problem with that at all, but he is concerned the property will not sell at fair market value in 90 days. Ms. Baldwin and Mr. Weeks told him if the house doesn’t sell in 90 days, he can return to Council and ask for an extension of time.
No one else asked to be heard; thus, the hearing was closed. Mr. Weeks moved to adopt the ordinance authorizing demolition of the unfit building at 2607 Sadie Hopkins Street if the necessary repairs are not completed within 90 days. The motion was seconded by Ms. Baldwin. The Mayor Pro Tem suggested adding to the motion that the Raleigh Police Department be directed to check out the adjacent property owned by Marion Robinson to see what is going on there. His modification was accepted by Mr. Weeks and Ms. Baldwin. Mr. Rogers said the problem is that is actually a County law enforcement situation; the City does not cover it. He and Mr. Glover have discussed this. Mr. Rogers had to have the County Sheriff come out to make the arrest, but the County really does not want to deal with it. Mayor Pro Tem Odom told Mr. Rogers the City will recommend to the County that County law enforcement look into the matter. Mr. Weeks’ motion carried unanimously and the Mayor Pro Tem ruled the motion adopted on a vote of 7-0 (Mayor McFarlane absent). See Ordinance 458.
Although the property appears to have been listed for sale at some point in the recent past for around $91,000, it’s listed as off-market right now. There do not appear to have been any permits issued within the last several years for 2607, which means this demolition is likely the final result of that City Council ruling from last year.
That real estate listing was actually from the website Redfin, and something about their description of the place seemed a little off. Read it for yourself:
There was a listing for this property on Redfin (it’s off-market, apparently) that included a lengthy description of the surrounding area.
2607 Sadie Hopkins St is a house in Raleigh, NC 27603. This 896 square foot house sits on a 0.32 acre lot and features 1 bathroom. This property was built in 1954. Based on Redfin’s Raleigh data, we estimate the home’s value is $91,110. Comparable nearby homes include 2708 Landis St, 2801 Bethune Dr, and 2900 Isabella Dr. The closest grocery store is Food Lion. Nearby coffee shops include Vapor Icing Cafe and Kangaroo Express. Nearby restaurants include Checkers Pizza & Subs, China Wok and tacos costa grande. 2607 Sadie Hopkins St is near Carolina Pines Park, Carolina Pines Park and Peach Road Park. There are minimal bike lanes and the terrain is flat as a pancake. 2607 Sadie Hopkins St is somewhat bikeable, there is minimal bike infrastructure. This address can also be written as 2607 Sadie Hopkins Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603.
My theory: that entire paragraph was generated by a computer. It would at least explain why a gas station and a vape shop are listed as nearby coffee shops, but it’s hard to be certain.