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Thursday, January 31, 2008

1316 9th Overhaul Imminent

I have very little information on the overhaul coming to 1316 9th Street (the building to the immediate left of be bar and that was sold late last year), but have heard sporadic reports on an imminent renovation and expansion. Most recently, on January 24, 2008, the Historic Preservation Review Board approved a proposal for a two-story addition. The Board directed the applicant to work with staff on assessing the feasibility of retaining (rather than demolishing and reconstructing) the two-story carriage house behind the main building.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rather than preserving and restoring the 1860's stable at the rear of 1316 9th Street NW, the developer (Mr. Grant Epstein of Community Three) and the HPRB have pushed ahead with its destruction this week. The developer had claimed that his company is sensitive to the historic nature of communities and wants to engage in collaborative development. Many in the community were violently opposed to this developer's plans when they became aware on July 3rd the the building was being destroyed. It seems that Mr. Epstein did have HPRB approval for demolishing this building. Now that it has been demolished however, before reviewing the decisions made by the HPRB it is impossible to verify the validity of any reports of its structural integrity. Indeed it had been lived in until about a year ago and many in the community felt that it was solid.

Through the mayor's office and other forces, the community was able to establish a stop work order to try and save the historic stable from this developer's pick axes and hammers. The community had also urgently reached out to the developer to try and engage him in discussions this week about preserving this building so that they could work with him and his company. The stop work order only lasted about a week because it was allegedly "lifted" by the HPRB.

The value of historic replication pales in contrast to historic preservation. A highly contributing building such as this little stable can never be meaningfully replaced by a replica. If one wants to see replicas of 1860's stables they should go to Disney Land or Hollywood.

The HPRB and others who are responsible for the preservation of the history of Washington D.C. need to be much more sensitive to the highly historic nature of the DC alleys. Buildings such as the one destroyed this week are precious and becoming rare. It cannot ever be replaced.

There are other small historic stables in the alleys of D.C. that deserve preservation as a legacy for the future. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from this case as a precedent that will help to protect the dwindling number of architecturally correct artifacts from another time. Or, are the D.C. government and regulatory agencies going to continue to be willing to settle for "history lite" to satisfy the demands of developers in the name of "progress?" Other world class cities have managed to preserve their history for coming generations. Why can't D.C.?