One of Dorchester’s most infamous problem properties is on the market for half a million dollars. The house at 97 Mt. Ida Road has weathered storms, fires, condemnation, attempted razing, and withering critiques from neighbors who said its condition lowered the value of their properties and constituted a safety and health risk.
Now, at long last, the status of the dilapidated three-decker seems to be moving toward some sort of resolution after years of frustration and contention by neighbors and city officials with the building’s owner, James Dickey.
The house, which sits on a prime parcel of land adjacent to Ronan Park that overlooks Dorchester Bay from the crest of Meetinghouse Hill, was boarded up and condemned in 2003 and partly burned in 2011.
Overflowing with cat food and surrounded by containers stagnant, mosquito-risk water, the building was at one time considered too dangerous for inspectional services officers or firefighters to enter. Dickey regularly tied up the case in court for by filing across jurisdictions and preventing housing courts from making final judgments.
City officials asked him to raze or sell the property repeatedly, with one attempt to have the house demolished stalled by another legal challenge in 2015.
Even Mayor Martin Walsh, who grappled with the problem as a state representative before his election as mayor, expressed frustration with the state of the property last year.
“Inspectional Services has done an incredible job of going after these properties that are problem properties,” Walsh said. “We just need some help from the housing courts to kind of expedite some of these programs.”
Stuart Schrier, a Dorchester-based attorney, was appointed receiver by the court last spring with a mission to clean up the property. At the time, Schrier told Judge MaryLou Muirhead that the house was salvageable, and that it could bring $500,000 in its deplorable state, and as much as $1.5 million if it were fully rehabbed and turned into three condos.
Last Monday, the property, which has six bedrooms, three bathrooms, and is 3,381 square feet in total, was listed on realtor websites at $500,000.