For sale: Dorchester three decker with stunning water views, needs some TLC, OK, a ton of TLC

A Boston housing-court judge last week gave a receiver permission to try to sell a burned-out rattrap at 97 Mt. Ida Rd., after years of effort by the city to get current litigious owner James Dickey to clean up the property.

The boarded up property went on sale yesterday for $500,000, as is:

Property to remain under supervision of the court and receiver until all violations are corrected and certificate of occupancy gets issued. Sale is subject to Court Approval. Do not enter the property or walk around premises unaccompanied. All showings must be accompanied by Listing Broker. Property to be shown during daylight hours to qualified buyers only. Liability waiver must be signed prior to gaining access. BRING A FLASHLIGHT.

The building caught fire in 2011. Ever since, the city Inspectional Services Department and Dickey, who lives in Sudbury, have engaged in a seemingly never-ending legal battle over getting the property cleaned up, in a series of cycles in which ISD goes to housing court, then Dickey appeals in either state or federal court to get the city to leave him alone then, when he loses there, everything goes back to housing court.

Federal courts keep telling him to leave them out of the battle over the state sanitary code; they don't want to hear his allegations the city and housing court are out to get him in a conspiracy to steal the property of black home owners. Dickey is white. The US Supreme Court rejected his request to hear the case as well.

In June of last year, a housing-court judge appointed a receiver to do something about the property, which ISD has argued is a threat to public safety and health. Three weeks later, the judge ordered Dickey to stop leaving open cans of cat food on the property; he claimed he was hoping to attract cats to eat the rats, but officials said the hundreds of open cans were mostly feeding the rats.

If receiver Stuart Schrier finds a buyer, Dickey would get the proceeds, less Schrier's costs for hiring clean-up contractors, his fees and any liens and back taxes.

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Comments

We should ask Councilor Edwards......

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We should ask Councilor Edwards if the "evil flippers" will be allowed to buy this, or if we should just let it rot and preserve the neighborhood.

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Voting is closed. 57

What is there to flip?

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It should be knocked down as the health and safety hazard it is. Nobody deserves to make money off of a nightmare structure like this.

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Why not?

It cost time and money to build a new building. The person or company to put up that money has a right to make a profit for their effort.

The owner of the site is a fool. He could have rebuilt it himself and made a tidy sum but instead he's wasted his time and money in court and now is going to be getting below-market sale after all the expenses are paid.

The neighbors will get a new building without rats so they win.

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Voting is closed. 31

Wrong

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The whole point was a big F-U to the city and the Housing Court. He doesn't care about the money.

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I'm going to give you the

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I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your comment is facetious and then assume that all of those who liked it also read it as such. I don't think anyone on the city council wants derelict properties to be left as such--that doesn't help anyone's quality of life nor does it add to the neighborhoods housing stock or bolster the city's tax rolls.

I also don't think that the tax proposal sponsored by Edwards and fellow City Councilor Kim Janey implies "flippers" are evil nor is it aimed at stopping them from buying properties (how would it generate revenue if that were the case?). It's just trying to capture some of that added value to help benefit the less well-off citizens of Boston. As a final aside, the "flipper" tax would only apply to properties bought and resold in less than 2 years--given the current state of this property it seems highly unlikely that it would be ready for market before then anyway.

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Voting is closed. 22

Two years?

Please, a gut reno can easily be done by a well organized contractor in under a year and ideally would be to better get the housing units into the market.

There was a house on my street which sat mid-development for two years for tax avoidance reasons. It's not a good thing. Unshoveled walks, wasted living space, etc...

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Voting is closed. 12

A rebuild, not including time

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A rebuild, not including time to get permits, should take 8 months. If you take longer, you’re an amature developer and will eventually lose your shirt. This project has already been shopped around to very experienced developers and several have passed on it because it will take longer than a year and professional developers, that actually make a living doing it, know we are at the peak of a market cycle and no one wants to get caught holding the bag.

And Edwards didn’t call them ‘evil’ she called them “greedy” I think most would agree that word carries a negative connotation.

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Voting is closed. 11

Why flip?

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Assuming you don't have to deal with the numerous lawsuits associated with the property, you could rebuilt and rent units out as an investment.

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Only if you want tenants to

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Only if you want tenants to call you at 2 am when the toilet clogs. Not everyone wants to be a landlord.

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This is a rehab

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How often would the toilet clog? Besides, if you live on the third floor, the commute wouldn't be that bad.

For the first 10 years we've lived in our house, the triple deckers next to us (two of them) were investment properties owned by former tenants, both of whom eventually moved away but retained ownership for a while. One was sold to a guy who owns a lot of properties and have a handyman on call. Somehow they both made it work.

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I'm glad that works for them.

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I'm glad that works for them.

But some people just want to be in the renovation business, not the landlord business.

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Risks both ways

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But it looks like there might be a financial disincentive to just up and flip a house.

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It really shows how crazy the

It really shows how crazy the housing market has gotten when a burned out shell of a building is $500k. You can buy a mansion for that in most of the country.

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Voting is closed. 66

buying the land, not the

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buying the land, not the house. land is one commodity we can't make more of

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Yep and my point stands.

Yep and my point stands. $500k is a shitload of money for real estate in most of the country. It doesn't seem like a ton to us, because the past 10 years of real estate inflation have warped our minds.

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Voting is closed. 12

Our minds are not warped

Yep and my point stands. $500k is a shitload of money for real estate in most of the country. It doesn't seem like a ton to us, because the past 10 years of real estate inflation have warped our minds.

There's nothing warped about it.

Lots of people want to live here.
There's only so much real estate.
The price reflects that.

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Voting is closed. 17

You're missing my point. I'm

You're missing my point. I'm just saying the housing market has exploded. This is a burned out building that will need to be either knocked down or completely rebuilt and it's being sold for $500,000. This same house (when it was presumably still in livable condition) sold for $115,000 in 2009.

I'm not arguing that there isn't a large demand for housing in Boston. I'm just marveling at how much the market has ballooned.

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Voting is closed. 24

2009?

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It wasn't in livable condition then.

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We'll, it WAS 2009

Nobody was buying anything in 2009. Things have changed a bit since.
Sure, $500K is a lot, but if one can put an income producing building on there (anybody know?), It may be an OK price. I have no idea. It doesn't seem totally out of whack.

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Is $500,000 the asking price or reserve price?

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I've seem some potentially valuable properties sold at auction much below the asking price. I realize this is a receiver and not an auction but what if someone comes in and offers $1 and nobody else is interested? More realistically, how about $100,000 or the city's assessed value that's in the low $200,000's? Is the receiver under any obligation to take only $500,000 or more, like a reserve price at auction?

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The problem is whoever buys

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The problem is whoever buys this property is going to get sued over and over by the current owner. And assuming that doesn't deter a developer whichever end user buys the property from the developer will also get sued over and over.

Raze the thing to the ground, fence it off, wait for the current owner to die of natural causes then develop the property. It'll be faster and cheaper than attempting to build anything while the owner is alive.

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I doubt it. The receiver will

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I doubt it. The receiver will have to clear the deed to make the sale, which will strike Mr. Dickey's standing. The developer may have to take some insurance out on the revenge front, but I don't think anyone downstream should be affected.

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Under normal circumstances, yes

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But this is a guy who so far hasn't let a lack of standing - or the lack of jurisdiction by particular courts - from filing lawsuits and appeals.

Specifically, his lack of standing comes from being a white man claiming to be the victim of a conspiracy against black property owners when he is neither black nor the owner of the properties he cites. Federal courts say they have no jurisdiction over the state sanitary codes cited by ISD to try to clean up the property.

And yet uses his knowledge of court formalities to keep filing suits and appeals (he always files pro se, which has caused him other problems related to the fact the property is actually owned by an LLC he controls and, at least in Massachusetts, corporations have to be represented in court by an actual lawyer, but so far that hasn't stopped him, either).

He currently has one appeal pending before the Supreme Judicial Court - again over his conspiracy theory, against ISD, housing court and the receiver - that has been scheduled for a March hearing and what appear to be several appeals in front of the Massachusetts Appeals Court against what appear to be a variety of lenders, none of which appear to have been decided or heard yet (I noticed one docket entry about a possible hearing just to decide whether to consolidate all the cases).

And he still technically has one federal case open, in which a judge denied his request for a temporary restraining order to block ISD from doing anything, but said he could come back once he's done in state court.

So we'll see.

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The view is fantastic

I've always loved this street and the houses around this one for it's views. If I had 100K for a down payment I would make a bid for 450K, build a gorgeous, but not fancy triple decker, live on the top floor and rent out the bottom two. Might cost me a 1 - 1.5 million when it's all said and done, but I think the rent on the first two floors would cover most of that. Problem is I don't have 100K or the time to see all of this through, but it's a decent deal for someone out there.

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Real Estae 101

Usually the largest source of revenue for solvent local governments is the property tax. Put another way local government is in the "Real Estate Business"
High property values? Laissez les bons temps roulez.....news desks and vehicles galore!
Low property values? Flint MI; sorry we can't borrow money for new pipes.
The tax base for local government is the engine that pays for street lights cops schools roads etc..
Some municipalities (Hear me Philly?) chose to lick the plate and impose city income taxes on their residents to send neighboring areas property taxes through the slate and copper roofs as everyone runs for the door.
Taxes on those $1Million triple deckers buy lots of good things for their residents AND the city contractors that supply them.

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Voting is closed. 5

Flipping law?

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I agree with several folks here about deteriorated buildings and houses in Boston. It seems to me a anti-flipping law will just encourage these properties to continue their deterioration.
Is that good for Boston/Dorchester?
I think most would say not.

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