Decision Summary HPA No. 07-008
- HPA Number
- Building Name
- Anne Archbold Hall
- 1900 Massachusetts Ave. SE
- Date of Order
HPA Number: 07-008
Case Name: In the Matter of Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Date of Order: 03/07/2007
Type of Permit Sought: Demolition (of northern addition to Anne Archbold Hall)
Date of Case Summary: 06/12/07
Applicant Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (“AWC”), sought a permit to demolish the north wing of landmark Anne Archbold Hall, a nursing residence dormitory facility on the campus of D.C. General Hospital, which is no longer in use. The demolition was necessary to execute the Hill East Master Plan, which would create public access to the Anacostia River and develop some 1,000 new housing units, 30 percent of which were intended for low and moderate income households. Specifically, the demolition of the north wing would permit the creation of C Place S.E., which Applicant contends is a key piece of the Hill East Master Plan. Anne Archbold Hall was designated a landmark, as the last intact example of the major Colonial Revival buildings, but the north wing was a later addition built 15 years after the original building was constructed in 1930 and the Mayor’s Agent found as a matter of fact that the north wing was “not critical in an architectural sense.”
The Historic Preservation Review Board (“HPRB”) concluded that the demolition of the north wing was not consistent with the purpose of the D.C. Landmark and Historic Preservation Act of 1978 (the “Act”); however, HPRB stated that it would not object to the project if the demolition were deemed necessary to construct a project of “special merit” and if the project allowed for the restoration of the covered façade from the original structure. Applicant then requested an administrative hearing before the Mayor’s Agent. The Mayor’s Agent granted Applicant’s request for a demolition permit, finding that it was consistent with the purposes of the Act, and that the demolition was necessary to construct a project of special merit. It also stipulated, in accordance with HPRB’s recommendation, that the covered portion of the original façade be restored.
Necessary to the Public Interest:
The Mayor’s Agent stated that the issuance of the demolition permit was necessary in the public interest because it would allow for the creation of C Place S.E., “a critical component of the Council of the District of Columbia’s approved Master Plan for Hill East,” and was consistent with the purposes of the Act.
Consistent With the Purposes of the Act:
The Mayor’s Agent concluded that, although the demolition of a historically significant building or part thereof is generally not consistent with the Act, the proposed demolition was consistent with the purposes of the Act because it created “significant preservation benefits by facilitating the redevelopment of the remaining core of Anne Archbold Hall as a modern, yet historically and architecturally accurate building.” It also noted that the plan is consistent with the L’Enfant Plan to extend the east-west grid and create a new Hill East Park, which is a favorable element of special merit and of proper land planning.
The Mayor’s Agent also explained that although Ann Archbold Hall is a significant architectural and historical building as a whole, the north wing is not architecturally critical and its demolition would not detract from the structure’s importance “as a monument to the nursing profession as well as a memorial to a noted woman philanthropist.”
Special Merit – Specific Features of Land Planning:
The Mayor’s Agent concluded that the demolition is necessary to construct the Hill East Master Plan, and that the Plan is a project of special merit because its specific features of land planning including public access to the Anacostia River, development of low and moderate income housing, the extension of the Washington, D.C. street grid and an example of environmentally sustainable, low-impact development provide significant public benefits. The Mayor’s Agent also concluded that the creation of C Place S.E., which requires demolition of the north wing, “plays a critical role in the Hill East Master Plan” by extending east-west access to the river, contributing to a network of “smaller-scaled, ‘neighborhood friendly’ blocks,” and creating a boundary between the residential neighborhood and the commercial/institutional development in the Massachusetts Avenue District.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissions:
The Mayor’s Agent stated that, pursuant to D.C. Code § 1-309.10(d), the Mayor’s Agent shall accord “great weight” to the recommendations of the Advisory Neighborhood commission, which by a unanimous vote approved the demolition of the north wing.