HPA No. 2003-586, S-01894 (In re. The Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde Babcock-Macomb House)
- HPA Number: 2003-586, S-01894
- Name: In the Matter of Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde Babcock-Macomb House
- Location: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
- Date of Order: 2/5/2004
- Type of Case: Subdivision
- Disposition: Granted
- Reviewer/Date of Summary: Megan Guenther, 9/3/2006
Applicant, Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde, sought a permit to subdivide the property on which the Embassy, the landmark Babcock-Macomb House, sat in order to sell a portion of its property to fund restoration of the building. The Mayor's Agent found the subdivision necessary in the public interest because it was consistent with the purposes of the Act.
Consistent with the Purposes of the Act:
- The Mayor's Agent noted that the portion of the property to be subdivided and developed was never related in any significant way to the landmark. There was no structure, garden, or landscaping on that portion that contributed to the significance of the landmark. In fact, the portion to be subdivided was only consolidated into the landmark property in 1988 and was currently occupied by a parking lot.
- The proposed subdivision lot would create a slightly bigger landmark site than the original pre-1988 lot. Also, the Applicant would incorporate building restrictions into the new lot that would ensure sufficient open space around the landmark and prevent any new construction from overwhelming or overshadowing the landmark.
- The Act clearly contemplates the possibility of the subdivision of the site of a landmark and the possibility of new construction on the new lot, provided such new construction is accomplished in a manner that is not incompatible with the character of the landmark.
- The proposed subdivision would allow for the enhancement of the significant character of the Babcock-Macomb House by creating a new lot for the landmark that is larger than the one where it historically stood. By allowing for sale of a parcel that does not contribute to the character or significance of the landmark to raise funds for the rehabilitation and restoration of the landmark, the subdivision would enable the Applicant to substantially rehabilitate the landmark, which is already being adaptively reused as an embassy.
- The Mayor's Agent noted that nothing in the Act requires vacant land that does not contribute to the character or significance of a landmark to remain vacant.
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