Demolition is under way on a pair of neglected, vacant downtown Silver Spring homes that neighbors complained about for years.
On Monday, the white two-story home at 812 Silver Spring Ave. had been demolished to its foundation and it appeared the adjacent home was set to be knocked down next.
The Fenton Group, a small real estate firm based in Silver Spring, owns the two properties and was ordered by a county District Court judge earlier this year to either tear down the houses or repair them. In response, firm founder Ulysses Glee told Bethesda Beat the homes would be torn down.
The county issued demolition permits this month for the homes, which were posted near the street.
Glee did not respond to a request for comment about how long it will take to complete the demolition or what he plans to do with the property after it’s cleared.
Multiple neighbors testified during a County Council public hearing in September that squatters were frequenting the two structures and that both houses appeared to be structurally unsound. The council was holding the hearing to collect public comment on the legislation that was later approved, which council members said will help make it easier for the county to track vacant homes and fine unresponsive landlords.
One neighbor, Meghan McCoy, described the vacant homes as “vermin-infested magnets for underage drinking, squatters and other related uses.”
In 2010, the county approved The Fenton Group’s redevelopment proposal for the two properties and an adjoining office property. The company plans to build a complex with 58 residential units, a 110-room hotel and 28,100 square feet of office space. It’s not clear if the firm will seek to amend that proposal, move forward with it or sell the property.
The property is in a growing area of downtown Silver Spring. It’s within five blocks of the Silver Spring Library, Kaldi’s Social House, Pacci’s Neapolitan Pizzeria and new apartment buildings in the Ripley District.