11th-Hour Landmark Application Could Throw a Wrench in Walmart’s Plans
In a classic last-ditch anti-development tactic, the "Brightwood Neighborhood Preservation Association," headed by Ward 4 Thrives member Verna Collins, has submitted a landmark application for the Car Barn that now sits on the site of the Walmart planned for upper Georgia Avenue. The D.C. Preservation League had previously gone to bat for the century-old brick storage facility, but was pacified by Walmart's promise to include elements of the architecture and materials in the new store.
Last week, developer Foulger-Pratt started some preliminary demolition at the site, and was dinged for not having correctly applied to raze the building, which requires notifying the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Since landmark applications take precedence, the raze permit can't be approved until the Historic Preservation Review Board considers Collins' case at their meeting in late October.
Two other transit-oriented storage facilities, the Western Bus Garage in upper Northwest and Capital Traction Garage on 14th and Decatur NW, have had landmark applications pending for a while now. The HPRB typically takes up these cases when the site is actually at risk; that one could be a factor if WMATA ever manages to find another place to put its buses, freeing up the site for redevelopment.