IBJOpinion

Abandoned houses should be torn down

October 24, 2009
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

[In response to the Oct. 19 viewpoint] Some of [Kurt] Wiegand’s points were spot-on, but his analysis of the economic impact regarding Mayor Ballard’s plan to demolish abandoned homes misses the mark by a wide margin.

First, consider one of the reasons that population has fled to outside of the Interstate 465 ring at the expense of inner-city Indianapolis: the quality of public education. I know that [IPS superintendent] Dr. [Eugene] White has his hands full and this is not meant as a criticism of his efforts, only a statement of fact. In 2008, Arlington High School, at 4825 N. Arlington Ave., had a graduation rate of 48 percent, according to the Indiana Department of Education. Lawrence Central High School, located at 7300 E. 56th St. (four minutes, or two miles north and east) had a graduation rate of 78.6 percent. If you had a choice of buying a house, which school system would you choose? Fix the school system, reduce the crime and people will buy homes inside of I-465.

Second, Wiegand’s criticisms of the mayor’s plan to demolish abandoned homes ignores economics. It costs approximately $7,000 to smash an abandoned home, cart the rubble away, and make a buildable residential lot. It costs $15,000 to $25,000 to make an abandoned/foreclosed home livable again. After that, the home that you bought at foreclosure for $25,000 and invested another $20,000 in will appraise for $38,000 in today’s market, and be taxed as if it were worth $80,000. This is a real-life experience with which I’m all too familiar. Bottom line: there is very little economic incentive for investors to buy foreclosed homes in inner-city Indianapolis at any price.

Third, Wiegand is critical of the blight that is a vacant lot, but ignores the blight that is an abandoned house. Abandoned homes attract drug dealers, gang activity, vandalism, arson, etc. Ask any inner-city homeowner what he’d rather live next to, an abandoned home or a vacant lot? You know the answer.

Finally, I think that Wiegand ignored the lessons espoused by proponents of “creative destruction.” Cities such as Tokyo that were totally leveled in World War II came back very quickly because they were a blank canvas that people were willing to invest in. As long as the existing stock of abandoned homes blights the inner city, there will be no growth and no economic recovery for the areas that Weigand characterizes as zones of “economic apartheid.”

If you want jobs, economic growth, higher home prices, and more tax revenue, tear down every abandoned home in Indianapolis. It’s that simple.

__________

Bradford Barkley
Rebound Properties LLC


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  • abandon house
    i would to buy a abandon house so i could put my money and time into.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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