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Historic Preservation Staff Recommends Conditional Approval of 14th Street Car Barn Redevelopment

by Nena Perry-Brown

Preferred car barn redevelopment design, looking northeast up 14th Street. Click to enlarge.

This week, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) may vote to bring redevelopment of the landmarked Decatur Street Car Barn one step closer to reality.

WMATA has filed a concept application to partially demolish the bus garage at 14th and Buchanan Streets NW (map) in order to retrofit portions into a new bus garage with up to 27,500 square feet of commercial space and a rooftop parking deck. Historic Preservation Office (HPO) staff is recommending that the Board find the concept compatible with the landmark.

At a May hearing, HPRB found the previous design concept incompatible; since then, architecture firms Beyer Blinder Belle and Wendel presented three new options to the community, who voted for the current design. In September, HPRB also found that the required demolition flouted the intent of historic preservation, leading WMATA to seek review from the Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation for a raze application.

As a result, HPO staff's report also recommends that HPRB defer to the Mayor's Agent's decision about whether the proposed redevelopment has "special merit" that warrants the demolition.

The Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation will hold a hearing on the project next month. 

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/historic-preservation-staff-recommends-conditional-approval-of-14th-street-/17646

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