A homeless encampment under I-90 in Seattle. (KIRO 7 TV)
Local realtor Nancy* is proud to show off a brand-new four-unit building just southeast of downtown Seattle.
The property, valued at $3.6 million, includes lofts that can be used for living or working.
“The builders worked very hard to get it to a finished product,” she told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.
But crime and homelessness in the area have all but ruined the building’s prospects on the market — and Nancy said that she is not the only realtor she knows of in Seattle to face this problem.
Three years ago, when the property was first bought, she said the neighborhood was free of RVs. Drone shots from the time prove this.
Now, however, the scene has changed completely.
“There is actual drug use happening — I’m sure there’s selling and trading on the streets — there are fistfights, there’s crime, there’s graffiti,” she said.
The spaces’ large windows were designed to let in light and provide postcard views of downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier; now, however, the windows give a close-up look at the broken-down cars and RVs parked just feet from the door.
Often times, builders have arrived in the mornings to find crude messages spray-painted on the walls of the building.
“Everything has had every word you could think of written on it, painted on it,” Nancy said.
One morning, when she arrived to show a unit to a customer, there were human feces on the doorstep.
When real estate agents arrive, RV-dwellers tend to case their cars like vultures descending on prey.
“The [drug addicts] circle the car, or they stand outside their vehicles and are watching you — they’re trying to intimidate,” Nancy said. “One of the agents did tell me that they were circling his car, and he wished he had driven a terrible car that day.”
Some agents have even called clients on the spot and told them not to bother coming.
The realtor and her colleagues have tried the city’s Find It, Fix It app, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and Seattle Police Department’s Parking Enforcement division, but all to no avail. SPD Parking Enforcement officers told her that they were not allowed to force the RVs to move.
Buyers have made full-price offers but then taken these offers back after witnessing the problems and dangers in the neighborhood. Now the developer has dropped the price to $2.9 million out of desperation.
“Who would want to go to sleep upstairs when you’re looking down at whatever is going on downstairs?” Nancy said.
*Name has been changed at personal request.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.