In March 2014 a total of 13 demolition permits were applied for in Arlington County, 11 of which were for single-family homes and two were for a commercial demolitions. Two of the residential permits are resubmissions of projects that had not yet started and one is for demolition of an unfinished project. Therefore, only eight of the residential demolition permit applications were new.
Of the eight new permits, all but one are located in North Arlington. Two of the homes are in National Register Historic Districts: 3236 1st Place North (Ashton Heights) and 928 North Daniel Street (Lyon Park). Both of these are single homes that sit on multiple lots. The majority of the permits are speculative developments by home builders.
The commercial building slated for demolition was built as the headquarters for Washington Gas Light Company and at one time sat proudly alongside the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway, the first limited access highway in Virginia. It has not been occupied for many years and is currently a canvas for an assortment of graffiti art. The historic photograph is from a 1950s-era Arlington Chamber of Commerce publication proudly touting the strength of Arlington as a business location. (The building was included in the Arlington Heritage Alliance’s 2007 list of the county’s most endangered historic places, under the category of “commercial districts.”) The second commercial permit is for standard commercial interior demolitions.
Cumulative demolition total for 2014:
– six are located in National Register Historic Districts
– 21 are speculative developments
Commercial buildings: 2
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.