*HPA Number: 1979-275
*Case Name: In re 3045 K Street, N.W. Location of Property: 3045 K Street, N.W., lots 803 and 804,Square 1190
*Date of Decision: October 15, 1979
*Type of Permit Sought: Demolition
*Summary of Decision:*
Nathan Landow (the "Applicant") filed for a permit to demolish a structure located at 3045 K Street, N.W., located within the Georgetown Historic District. The structure was created out of two residential buildings that were built in the early nineteenth century. Between 1887 and 1894 the buildings were combined and converted into a warehouse.
On August 13, 1979, the Commission on Fine Arts (the "CFA") recommended that the Mayor's Agent deny the Applicant's petition to raze the building, or at least its front portions, citing that its "early 19th century elements may be among the oldest architecture left on the Georgetown Waterfront, and the late 19th century commercial facades are among the few remaining in the section east of Wisconsin avenue [sic], facing the river." The Mayor's Agent elected not to follow the CFA's advice and granted the petition for demolition. Pointing to the fact that the structure was "overshadowed by the Whitehurst Freeway," the Mayor's Agent noted that "the building does not contribute to the historic district because it has been isolated from its historical and architectural context in the district and is not of sufficient architectural distinction in itself to make a contribution part [sic] from that context." There is no indication of the manner by which the Mayor's Agent determined that the structure was "not of sufficient architectural distinction in itself," however. Further, the Mayor's Agent also noted that "the applicant has not adequately explored alternatives to the incorporation of the present structure into a new development." Nevertheless, the Mayor's Agent granted the petition for demolition as being "consistent with the purposes of D.C. Law 2-144 as set forth in Section 2(b) and is therefore necessary in the public interest."
*Mayor's Agent - Procedural:*
*Per D.C. Law 2-144, "the application was referred to the Mayor's Agent who... referred it to the Commission on Fine Arts."
*The Mayor's Agent found against the recommendation of the CFA without elucidating the level of deference due.
*Necessary in the public interest:*
The Mayor's Agent determined that because the petition for demolition was "consistent with the purposes of D.C. Law 2-144 as set forth in Section 2(b) [it] is therefore necessary in the public interest." However, the Mayor's Agent did not discuss how the permit would retain and enhance the character of the historic district and encourage its adaptation for current use or assure that alterations or subdivisions would be compatible with the district's historic character, as that section discusses. Rather, she concluded that "the building does not contribute to the historic district because it has been isolated from its historical and architectural context in the district and is not of sufficient architectural distinction in itself to make a contribution part from that context."
The Mayor's Agent was "of the opinion that the applicant has not adequately explored alternatives to the incorporation of the present structure into a new development," however, this apparently did not provide sufficient grounds to dissuade the Mayor's Agent from granting of the permit for demolition. (Concerning exploration of alternatives, the decision only mentions the Applicant's testimony that "[the Applicant] believed the structure to be structurally unsound and that no other type of construction could be built around it," and, additionally, that Applicant's architects "did not believe it possible to include the first 40' [of the building] into a new structure as suggested by the Commission on Fine Arts.")