Friday, October 28, 2011

HPRB: Site of DC's First Walmart Not Historic

As was expected, the Historic Preservation Review Board voted yesterday in line with the Historic Preservation Office recommendation not to designate the Car Barn on Georgia Avenue as a historic landmark. The site is the proposed location of the District's first Wal-Mart, and a historic designation would have complicated and slowed the path to development. Property owner Foulger Pratt will be able to continue demolition (abruptly halted) of the structure.

Several individuals and parties, both for and against slapping the Barn with historic landmark status, gave impassioned testimony as to whether preservation was important based on the structure's integrity, and ability to convey the meaning for which it was deemed significant.

One testimony in opposition to preservation declared, "It's a blighted area and it has been for many years... preserving [the Car Barn] would defeat the effort of the community to revitalize the area."

However, a historian in favor noted the existence of old windows, materials, original brick walls, trusses, original roof skylights, old doors, and original layout (service and storage bay). A community member added, "It's a garage that represents the entire Brightwood community."

HPRB said preservation was an issue only of "significant integrity," most of which was lost when alterations began to convert the structure to a Chevy dealership in 1995, and in the end, the Board felt there was not enough.

Washington D.C. real estate development news


Anonymous said...

Walmart can afford to do better than that. Look what Safeway or Whole Foods has done recently. If it wants to be a good neighbor, Walmart could produce some nice architecture, not something that belongs on Rockville Pike. Maybe keep the "historic" walls if you can't build something better?

Ace in DC said...

Be pissed at the Chevy dealership. I am not a huge fan of Walmart - but time and time again developers are crucified for building or changing something that once was historic, but is now so dilapidated and un-salvageable that it can't be saved. Why weren't the HPRB and other historic preservationist protesting and screaming and crying when the Chevy dealership destroyed the car barn in the first place? Don't be mad at the reinvention - be mad at neglect.

Anonymous said...

I'm really not sure if the architecture for that Wal-Mart could possibly be any uglier. Perhaps I am in the minority, but I refuse to shop in any establishment that clearly cares less about its context and the surrounding neighborhood. I'm sure my lost dollars won't cause WalMart to go out of business, but why not TRY to lure me in and others like me by showing a little respect.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't you post a picture of the original car barn as well as of the building in its current condition?

Anonymous said...

Yaeee! I wonder if they're going to have metal detectors at the entryways?

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