Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Facade

We barely avoided our porches crashing to the ground so I guess it makes sense that something had to eventually catch us off guard, right?

It would seem that a part of our facade provided our little wake up call.

Almost two weeks ago a three foot section came crashing down from above the third floor balconies to the street below.

It was only through God’s grace that no one got hurt or property didn’t get damaged.

We have so many school aged children in the neighborhood---how could we even form the words to apologize to someone’s mother for such a mishap?

The thought alone makes tears well up in my eyes.

It’s not like we don’t have enough to consider---now this? While I’m sure you can understand my moment of self pity and passing comparison with Job, it does kind of make you wonder if the association is jinxed.

There’s just so much that has yet to be addressed and we (and I use that term loosely) are fighting so hard that you would think karma would cut us a little more room than usual.

Or at least stop kicking us in the ass.

I was on my way home from the train and saw our board President run out the gate and around the corner. When I followed, a pile of bricks and a cloud of dust greeted my gaze.

The bricks fell right in front of one of the three entrances to our association.

Had anyone been exiting or entering the building the precise time those bricks had fallen they would have been badly hurt.

From what I’ve been told, the building wasn’t tuck pointed upon it’s rehab and now normal wear and Chicago weather has loosened our facade.

As of this post, the resolution of this situation---at least to my knowledge---remains very much up in the air. I have not heard how much the repairs would be much less tuck pointing of the whole building.

I know another special assessment is coming.

Methinks it’s time to up the ante with Mr. Knight.

Either his ignorance or outright negligence is squarely to blame for our present circumstances. Hazardous back porches, sketchy wiring, a growing city fine and now a falling facade---someone owes us some money.

I think it’s time to collect what we’re due.


Paradise said...

Thank you for this informative post. I feel bad for you and your neighbors, and from what I'm hearing, your building's masonry problem is very common.

I 'missed out' on a really beautiful 'fixer upper' here on the North Side, when someone outbid me. Turns out I was lucky because the building,as it turns out, is on the verge of shedding a considerable amount of masonry at any moment, and the hapless owners in this unrehabbed building, which was 'flipped' about 5 years ago with only minimal repairs being done to it, will be looking at assessments of about $10,000 each. This is a heavy blow for moderate-income people.

Many a trap awaits the unwary condo buyer.

The Woodlawn Wonder said...


You ain't just whistling Dixie. I personally haven't finished paying my special assessment for the porches (about 1/3 of the way done) and now we're looking at another assessment for tuckpointing an 18 unit building AND our regular assessments just went up. I very well may have to get out on the street corner to make ends meet.

I have no idea how I'm going to make the magic happen.

I hope people understand why it's so important that my developer be held accountable for his (non)actions.

Wait until I start blogging about some very interesting conversations I've been having with the city. You'll plotz yourself.

Stay tuned.

Paradise said...

When you bought your place, did your inspection report say anything about this problem? It should have, because problems like this exhibit little symptoms that people with knowledge of construction can spot, which is why almost all lenders demand an inspection of the property by an independent inspection service.

However, I'm beginning to think many of these'independent' services are at least somehat corrupt, and that a clean inspection report doesn't mean anymore than the standard mandatory disclosure that potential buyers are given prepatory to making an offer.

I have also heard that in the case of rehabs, which are considered 'new', that lenders waive inspection. I believe it is insane to waive inspection, and I don't think anyone ever should. You lose too many rights thereby, and too many new and freshly rehabbed places have immense problems-did you hear about the horrific structural problems with the overpriced lofts that were built in the old AT&T blg. downtown, for which the buyers could get no remedy? These luckless people are out hundreds of thousands of dollars each, for these were rather expensive units to begin with, and these folks were leveraged to their eyeballs.

However, according to my agent, many peope waive when they are buying new or rehabbed homes that the seller is financing.

The whole structure is corrupt from top to bottom, and now that the housing hysteria has peaked, the structural weaknesses are beginning to show. What seems to be the case is that we buyers are dependent upon plain dumb luck for protection against garbage rehabbers and unscrupulous lenders, because there is nothing in place to protect us against these things to begin with, or any remedy for egregious, costly wrongs.

The folks on Granville are still, last I heard, waiting to see if they really own their places, after spending a winter with no heat and mostly no other utilities because the developer of this illegal conversion owns most of the units, is the president of the board, and owes over $400,000 in assessments that were needed to pay the utilities and services. These are not affluent people and they can't afford the legal bills and other extra costs, but they have to come up with the money anyway. What a disaster!!