Now vacant, co-owner of 401 Harris St. begins clean up

A downtown property that’s been the source of numerous police calls and neighbor complaints over the past two year is now vacant.

The residents of 401 Harris St. left Sunday. The City and Borough of Juneau sent a letter to the property owners in September ordering the home be vacated by Oct. 1 due to health and safety concerns.

Dave D’Amato is the power of attorney for Camilla Barrett, who co-owns the property with her son James Barrett.

D’Amato was boarding up the windows Monday morning. Old appliances and hardware cluttered the lawn and front porch. A bullet hole in one of them serves as a reminder of the home’s checkered past.

A window at 401 Harris St. in Juneau sports a bullet hole on Oct. 1, 2018. It was from a 2016 drive-by shooting.
A window at 401 Harris St. in Juneau sports a bullet hole on Oct. 1, 2018. It was from a 2016 drive-by shooting. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO)

D’Amato said two people peered in the windows late Sunday night as he was working on the home. He suspects they were looking for a way in but left when they saw him.

“I’m going to run some rope around the front of this as well so that people get the hint that we don’t want them entering,” D’Amato said.

As he worked Monday, neighbors stopped by to check on his progress. They’re relieved to see the house that’s been a source of concern and an eyesore in recent years getting cleaned up.

James, who lived in the house until yesterday with several guests, is now staying in a hotel until his new condo is ready for move-in.

D’Amato said they plan to sell the property after fixing it up, as they did with two nearby homes recently on Fourth Street.

“We’ll continue to clean it. We’re going to continue to get the yard straightened out and you notice that the place next door was bought,” D’Amato said.

James and Camilla are currently in a legal fight over the property. Last week, a judge ordered James out of the home in accordance with the CBJ letter.

After a court hearing in September, James blamed the situation on a settlement agreement his mother reached with the city in August over the Gastineau Apartments, another family-owned property.

“It’s driven by an agreement with the city which has a high dollar figure,” James said. “Things would be quite different if the city hadn’t made a stipulation with my mother in her settlement agreement.”

The city tore the Gastineau Apartments down in 2016 after it was damaged by fires.

In the settlement, Camilla agreed to pay $1.5 million and continue efforts to evict James and sell the Harris Street property.

Just up the street is another Barrett-owned property, the Bergmann Hotel.

The city condemned that property last year, forcing about 50 people out of the historic building.

The building is no longer condemned and D’Amato has been working to get it ready for sale later this year.

He planned to give neighbors an update on progress with that and 401 Harris St. at a meeting of the Juneau Uptown Neighborhood Association on Monday evening.

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