Abandoned homes contributing to crime in Eastside neighborhood

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) –  The abandoned homes on Sheppard St. in downtown Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood are more than just eyesores.

The dilapidated homes have ripple effects: from increasing crime, to decreasing the value of surrounding properties.

Multiple residents from the Eastside neighborhood expressed the same frustrations. They feel that the abandoned homes, some of which aren’t boarded up, are asking for trouble.

Rhett Puder owns a home that backs up to one of the vacant houses, and says that he has seen drug deals happen in the empty houses from his kitchen window,

Those homes, and the abandoned lots too, they’re just breeding grounds for drugs, drug use, drug dealing. There is also lot’s of litter which is a big issue for me because it’s a mess around here. Rats infestations..fires! They are truly a safety hazard.

While everyone agrees that the block of abandoned homes on Sheppard St. needs to be dealt with, when you start to crunch the numbers, the project isn’t as easy as it may seem.

The late 19th century homes are protected in an effort to preserve their architectural integrity, so demolishing them is not an option.

Purchasing and repairing the homes would require a lot of money, and the cost of the renovations is unlikely to be offset by reselling the homes.

Eastside developer Chamberlain Chesnut explained:

You know this particular home here would take approximately $250,000 in renovation costs, and they are asking $150,00 [to purchase it now]. But this home would sell for less than $300,000 [after renovations]…so you would be losing money if you were to renovate these homes at the current price they are asking for.

The Mount Carmel Church owns several of the homes, and the Charleston Police Department says that the City’s Livability Office has an active case with the church in an effort to resolve the problem.

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