Decision Summary HPA No. 00-405
- HPA Number
- Building Name
- Phillips Collection
- 1618 21st St. NW
- Date of Order
Full Text of Order
Applicant, the Phillips Collection, sought approval for permits for demolition of substantial portions of one of its structures (with plans to maintain and restore the structure’s façade) and subdivision of its lots into a single lot of record. The Mayor’s Agent found that approval of the applications was necessary in the public interest since improvements and expansion may be consistent with the purposes of the Act; that approval was necessary in the public interest to complete a project of special merit bestowing significant benefits on the community through exemplary architecture; and that approval was necessary in the public interest to complete a project of special merit bestowing significant benefits on the community through significant education, cultural, and other important social benefits to the D.C. community. He also found that the project was economically feasible.
Based on testimony from a recognized architectural expert, the Mayor’s Agent found that the demolition of substantial portions a contributing building at 1618 21st Street, N.W. (part of the Phillips Collection), while retaining the building’s façade, was necessary for the museum’s expansion. Finding also that the façade was the “contributing” historic feature of 1618 21st Street, N.W., the Mayor’s Agent found the demolition necessary in the public interest both as consistent with the purposes of the Act and to create a project of special merit by virtue of both exemplary architecture and community services having a high priority.
The Mayor’s Agent found the Applicant’s project programmatically, economically, and financially feasible given its cash endowment of $17 million, prior fund-raising successes, and commitment from the Bank of America of bond-financing of up to $15,175,000.
Special Merit—Community Services Having a High Priority:
The Mayor’s Agent found that Applicant’s proposed improvements to the Philips Collection were necessary to allow construction of a project of special merit with significant educational, cultural, and other important social benefits to the D.C. community. In his analysis, the Mayor’s Agent specifically noted the expansion of the museum’s collection, expansion of its library, new experimental education uses for the collection, and the museum’s “Art of the City” educational program that would be expanded by the increase in the museum’s facilities.
Special Merit—Exemplary Architecture:
The Mayor’s Agent found the Applicant’s proposed expansion of its facilities to be a project of special merit because of exemplary architecture, noting the preservation and restoration of the façade of a contributing building (that would otherwise be substantially demolished under the plan for the project) and adaptive reuse of the restored façade since the museum’s entrance would be moved there from the Goh building.