Keep Vandals and Vermin out of Vacant Facilities

B_0913_Vandals1CAP’s Marc Insul contributes to this feature article in Buildings Magazine. Click to read full article.

Chances are you’re familiar with old, abandoned buildings – hopefully not because one is in your portfolio, but perhaps there’s one in your neighborhood. The roof is caving. It’s infested with rodents. Debris litters the lot. You probably wonder how the property came to be in its present state and why the owner isn’t keeping it in better shape. It’s at this point that onlookers may call the city and make a formal complaint.

When a property of yours becomes unoccupied, keep your eye on it or risk it becoming an eyesore or worse. Maintenance and preservation techniques prevent vandalism, physical deterioration, and citation from local authorities.

However, the troubling truth is that owners aren’t familiar with best practices for maintaining vacant properties. From whom to notify and which inspections to perform, owners feel as hopeless and abandoned as the building itself.

“Maintaining a vacant property can be an unpleasant full-time job,” says Marc Insul, president of Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP), a firm that maintains and oversees vacant properties. “But doing so is a necessary task any owner or lender of commercial property needs to consider if they want to preserve equity while preparing the property for its next use.”

Chicago seeks tougher rules on vacant buildings

Reprinted from Chicago Tribune Business

Proposed amendment requires properties to be secured immediately, cuts number of inspections before tickets or violations are issued

In the first 10 days of September, city of Chicago operators logct-ct-biz-vacant-housing-a-jpg-20130826ged 359 calls about problems at vacant buildings, ranging from reports of open or missing front or back doors to pried-off plywood panels to trespassers.

The city is trying to lessen that number by requiring the entities responsible for vacant buildings to more quickly register them, and if they don’t, speed up when the city can issue a fine and force them to secure a building.

When Trash Bags and Gardening Tools Can Help Fight Crime

NEXT CityReprinted from NEXT City

Next City is hosting a live blog of the 2013 Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference, now ongoing in Philadelphia.

With some 40,000 vacant lots, Philadelphia is no stranger to issues linked to urban land vacancy. But the city is also familiar with strategies that can not only improve individual lots, but also reduce crime and improve quality of life.

Today, 8,500 public and privately owned vacant parcels are cleaned, greened and maintained through the Philadelphia Land Care Program, a collaborative effort spearheaded by the city and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Since the program began in 1999, it has demonstrated that the cleaning-and-greening approach has an impact beyond stabilizing the neighborhood. It has also been shown to reduce gun violence, vandalism, stress and inactivity.

To see the full article, click here.