4005 Hamilton Ave.

Address: 4005 Hamilton Ave., NorthsideOwner: Norm McCollumValue: $26,700Year Built: 1900Comments: Sometimes blight is on the outside, and sometimes it's on the inside. The buildings at 40

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Doug Trapp

Address: 4005 Hamilton Ave., Northside

Owner: Norm McCollum

Value: $26,700

Year Built: 1900

Comments: Sometimes blight is on the outside, and sometimes it's on the inside. The buildings at 4003 and 4007 Hamilton have empty storefronts and generally look worse; at least 4005 simulates an occupied storefront.

But structurally, 4005 might have the most serious issues, including rotting wood support beams, according to Sister Judy Martinez of Working in Neighborhoods. About a year ago she toured the building with a structural engineer in advance of making an offer for it in a joint project with the Northside Business District United (NBDU).

"The building itself, the structure, is shot," Martinez says. "He basically said new construction would be the best way to go."

The team negotiated a deal to buy 4005 and 4001 Hamilton Ave. — a similar mixed-use building — from McCollum for $110,000 more than a year ago. The acquisitions would have been part of a $1.2 million, five-building project with 18 loft apartments. But the proposal didn't receive $300,000 in funding it needed from the city's housing round, the main source of city money for rehab projects.

The city rejected the project because it didn't want to invest so much in a shaky building, according to Gwen Finegan of NBDU.

The basement has had water in it for years, Martinez says. Some say it's been there since the 1937 flood, which put a lot of the surrounding buildings under 10 feet of water. However, a leaky roof seems to be a more likely source.

The city demolished part of a bulging rear wall at 4005 Hamilton Ave. last year, according to records at the Department of Buildings and Inspections.

Attempts to contact McCollum by phone and in person were not successful.

BLIGHT OF THE WEEK is an effort to highlight the problem of abandoned buildings — and who's responsible for them.

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