HPA No. 1984-255 (In re. the Bond Building)
- HPA Number: 1984-255
- Case Name: Application for demolition, alteration and new construction located at 1400 New York Avenue, N.W., Lot 18, Square 223
- Location of Property: 1400 New York Avenue, N.W.
- Date of Decision: 07/20/84
- Type of Case/Type of Permit Sought: Demolition
- Disposition: Approved
- Date of Case Summary: 07/06/07
Summary of Decision:
The Segal/Zuckerman Partnership (“Applicant”) applied for a permit to demolish portions of the Bond Building, an individually designated Category III landmark on the District of Columbia inventory of historic places, and to construct two new infill buildings on the site. The Mayor’s Agent granted the demolition permit, holding that the demolition was consistent with the purposes of the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978 (the “Act”), because the design would restore the existing façade, which was the architecturally significant portion of the building (cited as “highly ornamented...” including a “rusticated base, colossal planar arcading, and an exuberant crowning cornice surmounted by a balustrade... carried continuously around the street facades of the building and punctuated and elaborated through imaginative interpretation of Beaux Arts vocabulary). The proposal would restore the exterior of the building to its approximate original condition. The Mayor’s Agent found that demolition of all but the façade was a “viable way in which to effectuate adaptive reuse of the structure and allow the continued use of the building on this site.”
Mayor’s Agent – Procedural:
- At the request of a community group (Don’t Tear It Down), Applicant agreed to amend its application to remove the argument that the project was one of special merit and instead rely solely on the argument that the demolition was consistent with the purposes of the Act. After amending its application, there was no opposition from any group.
- The Advisory Neighborhood Commission did not state a position on the merits of the application.
Consistent with the Purposes of the Act:
Based on the evidence presented, the proposed demolition and construction was consistent with the purposes of the Act because it retained and enhanced the façade of the existing building while removing the insignificant portions of the building, and would restore the building to its approximate original condition including repair and replacement of a damaged cornice and balustrade. (Applicant testified that rehabilitation of the building was considered, but was reluctantly abandoned because of “design problems created by the interior structure, the inability to provide parking and the cost factor occasioned by the lack of efficiency.”) Thus, the partial demolition would encourage restoration of the landmark building by retaining all of the significant elements of the building and promote the building’s continued use. The Mayor’s Agent also found the new buildings to be constructed as part of the project “suitably background subdued so as not to detract from or overwhelm the original Bond Building façade.”
The Bond Building is the subject of a prior Mayor’s Agent order, HPA No. 81-521, in which a demolition of the entire building was denied. As noted above, these types of “façade” projects are no longer favored.
This type of so-called “façade” project was allowed in the 1980s when preservation efforts were still in their infancy; but are no longer looked upon with favor after the Mayor’s Agent decision in St. Patrick’s Church case HPA 99-219, 220, 221 (1999)
Files in this item
- Full text of order.pdf
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