In January 2014 a total of 14 demolition permits were applied for in Arlington County (see photos below). Eleven of them were for single family homes, one was for a commercial building, and the other two were demolition of detached garages. One of the houses, 2608 3rd Street North, is located in the Lyon Park Historic District. Several of the homes are located in neighborhoods that could qualify for historic designation under National Register criteria.
In review of the Arlington County tax records, eight of the eleven houses are owned by builders and are speculative redevelopments, and two are being redeveloped by individuals who bought the property within the last year. The one commercial building is being redeveloped as part of a major site redevelopment in the Rosslyn area.
The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy, and materials. Many had the potential for renovation and additions, or, at a bare minimum, reclamation/reuse of building materials. These buildings are often replaced with new construction that is out of scale and proportion to the community. Preservation Arlington urges citizens to adopt Local Historic District designations for their communities, with standards for design, height, and placement that could be customized to reflect community needs while still allowing reinvestment to occur.
Similarly, if you are a property owner and are contemplating a change to your property, Preservation Arlington encourages you to work with your architect or builder to consider how some or all of your house or building could be incorporated into a renovation, or the materials reused.