In August 2014 a total of seventeen (17) demolition permits were applied for in Arlington County. Six were for single-family homes. Four were for two separate garden apartment complexes. Five were for a set of low-rise commercial buildings. The remaining three permits were re-applications or for the demolition of secondary buildings (garage/shed). In August 2013 there were sixteen (16) demolition permit applications.
North Arlington accounted for all of the permits — both commercial and residential. One of the homes is in the Lyon Park National Register Historic District (3115 7th Street North). Three of the single-family permits are for speculative developments.
All of the garden apartment buildings being demolished are part of major redevelopments of those sites that went through the County’s 4.1 site plan process. The development on Pierce/Queen Street will demolish three of the existing garden apartment buildings while retaining two as a historic preservation consideration. Those two buildings will be renovated and configured to be twelve (12) three-bedroom apartments. Fifty (50) market rate units will be demolished in this redevelopment; however, the new project will contain seventy-six (76) committed affordable units for 60 years (just under half of the total units in the project). The Carlin Springs project will demolish 27 market rate affordable units and will be replaced with 104 units, 98 of which will be committed affordable housing and 80 of which will be two and three-bedroom units.
Totals for 2014
– 23 are located in National Register Historic Districts
– 77 are speculative developments (owned by developers)
Commercial buildings: 12
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.