12 Investigates: Bank forecloses on 7 Church Hill homes - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

12 Investigates: Bank forecloses on 7 Church Hill homes

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Neighbors don't normally jump for joy over a foreclosure, but that's exactly what's happening in one Church Hill neighborhood.

When Justin French's multi-million dollar empire came crashing down, the Richmond businessman ended up in federal prison and his properties along North 31st Street in Church Hill fell into disrepair.

The grass is overgrown and infested with bugs. The properties are used like a trash can. They are peeling, boarded up and broken. There are 7 homes in all.

"They've been that way for a long long time," said Michael Williams, who has lived in the neighborhood for two years. "It's pretty ridiculous. I mean they could have had them in use by now. Grass stays tall. Not much goes on over there."

The view from his neighbor's front porch, isn't much different. "It should be turned into homes for somebody, people that don't really have much money or something," said Lisa Beach.

The homes here were already empty and falling apart when French bought them in 2007. He was in the business of rehabbing and reselling. Those plans never got off the ground, when the economy tanked and his real estate scam was exposed.

The houses on 31st Street sat empty for years as he went through the court process and as his creditors closed in. Even though French sits in jail, the city continues to pile violation notices on the front door for high grass- a downed tree and trash.

Just this month, Village Bank finally foreclosed on all 7 homes. 

"It will be a game changer for this entire street and actually for this whole section of the neighborhood," said David Herring. He's had his eyes on these properties for a while now. He's with the Better Housing Coalitions Center for Neighborhood Revitalization.

Where you might see old, dilapidated buildings- he see promise and potential. "This is really good housing stock. Very typical for this part of the neighborhood," said Herring. 

Neighbors are hopeful the foreclosure means these houses will go on the auction block and finally have new owners. "I would like to see someone buy them and fix them up," said Beach.

Herring says- if a good owner comes along- what languished for years in the shadow of a money scheme- could become a bright spot for North Richmond's resurgence.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

  • Latest news from NBC12.comNEWSMore>>

  • Civil Rights Historians tell little known story of WWII vet

    Civil Rights Historians tell little known story of WWII vet

    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:04 AM EDT2018-05-27 15:04:17 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 7:05 PM EDT2018-05-27 23:05:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Christina L. Myers). This Saturday, May, 26, 2018, photo shows a sign for the town of Batesburg-Leesville, S.C. A group is trying to put up a memorial in the town to decorated African-American World War II veteran Sgt. Isaac Woodard, who was ...(AP Photo/Christina L. Myers). This Saturday, May, 26, 2018, photo shows a sign for the town of Batesburg-Leesville, S.C. A group is trying to put up a memorial in the town to decorated African-American World War II veteran Sgt. Isaac Woodard, who was ...

    The brutality inflicted against African American World War II veteran Sgt. Isaac Woodard by a Southern police chief is credited with inspiring President Harry Truman to integrate the military, but few people know...

    More >>

    The brutality inflicted against African American World War II veteran Sgt. Isaac Woodard by a Southern police chief is credited with inspiring President Harry Truman to integrate the military, but few people know his name.

    More >>
  • Bloody but forgotten WWII battle still haunts soldiers

    Bloody but forgotten WWII battle still haunts soldiers

    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:34 AM EDT2018-05-27 15:34:09 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:27 PM EDT2018-05-28 03:27:17 GMT
    (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen). In this May 19, 2018, photo World War II veterans Allan Seroll, left, of Massachusetts, and William Roy Dover, right, of Alabama, right, attend a 75th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Attu in Anchorage, Alaska. Dover w...(AP Photo/Mark Thiessen). In this May 19, 2018, photo World War II veterans Allan Seroll, left, of Massachusetts, and William Roy Dover, right, of Alabama, right, attend a 75th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Attu in Anchorage, Alaska. Dover w...

    One of the bloodiest World War II battles in the Pacific was waged 75 years ago this month on Attu Island in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

    More >>

    One of the bloodiest World War II battles in the Pacific was waged 75 years ago this month on Attu Island in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

    More >>
  • Giuliani advises no Mueller interview without informant info

    Giuliani advises no Mueller interview without informant info

    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:05 AM EDT2018-05-27 15:05:32 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:25 PM EDT2018-05-28 03:25:55 GMT
    President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an interview (Source:CNN)President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an interview (Source:CNN)

    President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an...

    More >>

    President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an interview with the special counsel.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly