Some might think it’s macabre but every day I scan the newspaper for foreclosures.
I don’t care what poor unfortunate soul must be going through as they endure financial difficulties. In fact, I don’t even look at the names. What I am concerned with are the ‘flippers’.
These are the developers who roam the listings and the streets looking for distressed properties. They want to buy as cheap as possible, gut the home to the studs, put in the cheapest material they can obtain and then sell the price as high as the market will bear.
There is a role in our economy for this kind of entrepreneurial person. But unfortunately, in our historic district, they are a disaster. I drove past 252 High Street – you know the one. They plan on putting a long string of connected condos behind an historic home that faces the High School. Sad enough that a carriage building will be demolished in the back but overall a good plan to improve the streetscape.
The developer, one of those ‘flippers’ gutted the historic home to the studs. Even with the expanded local historic district, this kind of thing won’t be stopped. That is why it is so urgent that preservation easements become common in our city, the ‘Trust’ actually does widespread activisim and education and the word gets out that the City will not tolerate such destruction.
Unfortunately, the City makes money off the building permits. Whatever political move occurs, it will come from preservationists, not City Hall.
More work has to be done to save Newburyport.
That is why I roam the foreclosures. I need to find out what properties will be flipped and prepare for the most odious, any way to minimize the damage at whatever board or commission the developer will appear.
Historic Preservationists!?! That’s our job. Start scanning the paper.