Council Member Graham: Why is this Building Getting Torn Down?

CM Graham writes in a message titled, Why is DC-HA Tearing down:

Old if not historic apartment building at 11th and Harvard? I know there is a good purpose coming—thye did tell me about that– and of course I know that the DC Housing Authority is highly independent of the DC government (a huge part of the problem)…

But why couldn’t the existing building have been used and preserved? Every time we tear up our historic fabric we must know that it cannot be reclaimed. I bet that building has been standing on that corner for 90 years.

Did DCHA consult with anyone on the demolition? Not me, I can tell you.

I am now asking DCHA Director Todman for an accounting of this. And, also, DCRA Director Majett whether all the demolition permits were in place.

We will be back to you.

We last spoke about this troubled building on June 1st. You can see what the building pre-demo looked like, here.

34 Comment

  • Because the building that is going to go in there will be ADA accessible – This building had extensive damage and it would have been extremely difficult for the elderly people that are going to live there to come in and out of the building.

  • Whenever i see this happening i always try to steal a few of the bricks and use them in my yard garden. There’s some serious random history in my yard.

  • Just because something is old does not mean it should be saved for eternity…

  • If you tear down old buildings, you will eventually tear down old people. Killers!

  • speaking of crappy buildings, know anything about any plans for the one at Georgia and Shepherd?

  • I can answer the question for the councilman: the people who own the building decided to tear it down and it wasn’t protected as a historic building.

    Better to have to appeal to the city council for every building that gets removed? And to protect the facade and have the renovation cost 10x as much so we can have a vacant, run-down, non-handicapped accessible building on 11th and Harvard? It ought to be protected because it’s 90 years old?

    This is just a lot of nonsense. If you wanted the building to be untouchable, you should have protected it legally, with notice to the owners and all the due process to which they’re entitled.

    • civilized discussions on the pros and cons of historic or older buildings and their value to society are not really possible on this site, but it appears that you don’t get it.

      • ah

        What doesn’t he get? Putting aside the merits of historical preservation generally or of this building, if it was not protected pursuant to those laws/regulations, then why should some sort of ad hoc protection be applied to it now?

        • Actually there is a regulation that applies only to DC government and it’s agencies. It requires them to consult with the Historic Preservation Office when they undertake an action (like demolition) that will impact a building that is eligible for historic protection (like this building). Ask HPO if DCHA consulted with them before knocking it down. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t.

  • What happened to the Council of Concerned Men and whatnot?

  • old is good, new is bad: false. why did no one consult you? because YOU DONT OWN IT.

  • It was an ugly building

  • screw the city council and screw this guy. it was an eyesore that needed to come down. why doesn’t he go put together a budget that will actually work for the city? when he’s done that he can run his mouth about somebody else’s business.

  • I agree with the original poster. This building should have been saved. Old is good and new is 75% likely to be bad. Buildings built before 1930 are great and an asset to the neighborhood, it gives us historic character that cannot be recreated.

    I was very said to see this building go.

    • Disagree. The building was old, not historic nor attractive nor contributing to the character of the neighborhood. Now that it is virtually gone, let’s concentrate on the new building, and making sure the design is going to be compatible to the new residents and to the neighborhood.

  • Clearly Mr. Graham isn’t reading enough PoP and has fallen behind on his knowledge of his own hood. Should be required reading for all the CMs and the Mayor.

  • The building wasn’t ugly, it just needed to he renovated. U d be surprised at what a good paint job would do.

  • DC government and it’s agencies are subject to a chapter of the local Preservation Law that requires them to consult with the Historic Preservation Office when they undertake an action (like demolition) that will impact a building that is eligible for historic protection (like this building). Ask HPO if DCHA consulted with them before knocking it down. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t.

  • There’s at least one building facade on Mt. Pleasant that’s still being saved though there’s rubble pile behind it and nothing’s been touched in over a year. Maybe Mr. Graham can focus on that rather instead.

  • What a shame. My daddy lived here years ago and it was an interesting building. This was way before the neighborhood became so stabby and it was a nice place to visit.

  • While we’re at it: Graham himself is pretty old and rundown, as well as pretty inaccessible. Can we tear him down? Or at least put him out to pasture in the next election? 

  • There were a lot of people who wanted Union Station and the Old Post Office torn down too. They thought those buildings were ugly. Thanks goodness Jackie Kennedy and others were able to save those buildings. Too bad this one was lost.

    • Equating those buildings to this one is a travesty.

      Even Jackie O’ would have recognized that some buildings aren’t worth the effort.

  • austindc

    I don’t think this building could be saved. The entire side facing Harvard was buckling out and had to be reinforced with a steel frame to keep it from caving in. Much of the roof was missing in one area too, and there were plants growing inside that you could see through the windows.

    I hate to see nice old buildings torn down, but this one was tearing itself down on its own. I’d rather see builders demolish it safely and efficiently. I’m looking forward to seeing what gets built!

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