We would like to share an update on yesterday’s Board of Architectural Review public hearing on demolition. The row of townhouses at 514-520 South Loudoun Street was approved for complete demolition last night, citing safety concerns for the structures. There had been some hope to try to save the front of the homes with their ornate woodwork, but closer investigation revealed they were all heavily rotted. Rehabilitation would involve almost every piece of the building being repaired or replaced. It was acknowledged it could be done, but the end result would, in effect, be a new structure.
The ability to sell the property as the alternative to demolition by the city was brought up, but allegedly this option was not available in the blight remediation per the court process. The reasoning given was that by selling the property, the blighted condition would not be remediated (even if it was sold to an entity willing to undertake rehabilitation or demolition). The property is not currently going to be changing ownership.
This is definitely a loss for the historic district on multiple levels. We know a number of people were hopeful there was some process to get the buildings into new ownership for an investigation of rehabilitation. At this point it seems unlikely any new construction will happen on that lot for the foreseeable future. The parcel is planned to be seeded with grass post demolition. The only small consolation is that the structure will not be in place to continue posing a risk to its adjoining neighbors.
If you would like to review the submitted documents from the meeting, they may be found on the city’s website.