Sunday, October 02, 2005

Diamond in the Rough

Look for more and more largesse for local political candidates and community players pouring from the deep pockets of Diamond Alexandria LLC.

The Fairfax company which got the green light to develop the Monarch condominium townhomes on the site of the old Henneage printing plant at Henry & Oronoco Streets and just got the stamp of approval for new townhomes in the Lincolnia area last month. Diamond is also seeking approval from Planning Commission later in October for another development of townhomes in the North End.

According to the Alexandria Office of Voter Registration and Elections, Diamond Properties has already contributed $1,555 to Mayor William D. Euille's 2006 re-election bid.

Sort of a thank you and please-keep-the-favors-coming gesture, the Growler guesses.

And interestingly, Hopkins House's IRS Form 990 for 2003 (ending June 30, 2004) shows that Diamond Properties' Ibrahim Diamond ponied up $5,000 just about the time the City Council was mulling over the Monarch project. And who was among the supporters who testified for Diamond before the City Council in November 2004: J. Glenn Hopkins.

Nothing like buying the support of the neighborhood's sacred cow charity.

Shame o' the Neighborhood

The ravaged and boarded-up apartment building at 1219 Oronoco continues to disfigure the neighborhood after more than a year.

Earlier this year, the Planning Commission and City Council approved a Special Use Permit (SUP) to permit a permanent reduction in parking. This was necessary since the extensive renovation of the building would normally trigger a requirement for a number of off-street parking spaces for the 11-unit structure. The SUP was even worded to permit it to transfer to any subsequent owners of the property.

Unfortunately, that came to pass more quickly than anyone could imagine. The original partners (as 1219 Oronoco LLC) who talked about turning 1219 Oronoco into affordable housing apparently had a bust-up and the property was sold on July 29 for $1.9 million to Nurcan Bozkurt and Yalcin Bilgehan. No-one seems to know much about the new owners. Bilgehan owns other single-family homes on Aspen Street and Martha Custis Drive in Alexandria.

The new owners have been contacted about the maintenance of the property but have not responded to letters directed to an address on file in D.C.

Whatever happened to that Blighted Properties list that the City used to publish around this time of year? And what will the City do about this eyesore?

Speculators ... grrrrrrrr!