City Paper Widget

Thursday, December 4, 2014

941 S Street: Planned Renovation for Long-time Vacant and Blighted Building

On November 17, the Design Review Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street endorsed the historic preservation and zoning elements of a proposed renovation at 941 S Street NW. This building has been vacant for many years and was designated a vacant or blighted building by the DC government as of March 2012.

945 S Street on the left behind tree
This item is on the agenda for the meeting of tonight (December 4) of the full ANC. The meeting is scheduled for 7pm at the Banneker Recreation Center (2500 Georgia Avenue).

Online information says this building was built in 1885 and was sold in July 2014 for $985,000. At the November 17 meeting, the tale of this building unfolded bit by bit. It became vacant after the 1968 riots. The city acquired the property through tax liens. It stood empty for a long time -- "at least 10 years", according to one member of the Design Review Committee. The same member recalled trying unsuccessfully to buy the property "20 years ago".

This property is located in ANC1B district 02, which is currently vacant. It has fallen to the recently-elected (but not-yet-officially-seated) Commissioner for this district, Ellen Nedrow Sullivan, to do some research and other spadework that a sitting Commissioner might ordinarily do. Sullivan reported to the Committee. She said that, after the 2011 earthquake, the nearby Westminster Neighborhood Association, of which she had been member, had determined who in the DC government had the authority to sell the long-vacant building. There had been a successful push over a long period by the neighbors and the Association to get it sold.

Unsurprisingly, the Westminster Neighborhood Association also supports the request for the necessary approvals from DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and zoning authorities so the building can stop being an eyesore and start being somebody's home.

The property falls under HPRB's jurisdiction because it is located in the U Street Historic District.

There will be a new rear roof deck addition to the house. This addition will not be visible from the street, and will not put the property over 60% lot coverage, so no zoning relief is required for this particular aspect. The sole zoning relief required will be for a side court on the property. The Committee supported this unanimously and members said that this type of zoning relief was granted in 99% of the cases. 

The committee also endorsed the historic preservation aspects of the renovation but suggested that cement not be used as a material. However, a member of the committee who objected to cement said if HPRB could live with cement, it was OK with him.

The owner and his architect said the renovation included painted brick and "all new windows to historic standards". There would also be a green roof, they said.

Both the HPRB and zoning aspects of this renovation received unanimous endorsement in separate resolutions.

(Photo credit: Google Street View)

1 comment:

  1. the brick isn't painted now, right!? if it's not painted already, then it should NOT be painted in the future. It's bad for the brick