The eight-unit Red Barn apartment complex in Rockville, where loitering, gambling and drug abuse problems have been reported by residents, should be acquired by the city and razed, a recent city report recommends.

The two-story complex is in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. For a number of years it has been a source of concern among residents, who have asked that the city take steps to relieve problems there.

According to the report by the city's Department of Community Development and Housing Assistance, the complex's location at the dead end of Frederick Avenue "makes it an attractive hangout for outsiders."

"The building and its environs has become a community-wide problem because of a high incidence of loitering, gambling, drug abuse and public drinking," the report found.

Records show that city police are called to the complex about nine times a month.

Last fall, residents endorsed a city urban renewal plan to relocate tenants, raze the building and sell the property. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing before the City Council next month.

Named for its dark red color, the Red Barn was built during the 1930s as a movie theater. It was converted into an apartment house in 1951.

The report shows that the complex, which has had four owners and three management companies since 1974, has averaged 40 building code violations a year.

Last April, during the city's annual inspection of rental units, about 70 violations of varying degrees, including overflowing trash dumpsters, were found at the complex.

The management company and owner William Bailey later corrected the major violations, but since then "a number of additional violation notices have been issued to the building manager," according to the report.

Vandalism within the apartments is said to be common, the report states, and vacant units are sometimes broken into and used as sleeping quarters by outsiders.

A Lincoln Park neighborhood planning report states that "the building is no longer attractive and tends to negatively impact immediately adjacent single-family units."

Planners noted that simply rehabilitating the apartments would be unfeasible because rehabilitation costs would total more than the property is worth and would result in substantial rent increases for tenants, described in the report as having "marginal incomes."