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The transition from unoccupied house to derelict house can happen faster than most people might realize. That is what is becoming evident with some of the mega pseudo-mansions that were built during the first rush of demolition and re-development that took place a few years ago.
Empty since they were built and/or only used periodically as “hotels,” these edifices are starting to exhibit all the characteristics of disinterested abandonment: lawns, flower-beds and driveways overrun by weeds; dead shrubs around the yard; bolts and latches rusting away and gates starting to fall from hinges; lighting fixtures hanging loose; paint starting to fleck away from window and door trims; windows covered in grime and broken blinds hanging askew; rain spouts falling away from gutters; and garbage accumulating along the boulevard. The fact that the majority of these houses are shoddily-built to begin with only accelerates the deterioration.
The City of Richmond has already given rise to the “affluent ghost town” syndrome; now it is making another contribution by helping to re-define the concept of “fixer-upper” to include million-dollar, 10 year old properties.
Yet another example of Brodie and company’s idea of progressive community-planning.