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The Location noted yesterday that Douglas Development had submitted raze applications for the elegant, decaying buildings now covered with a large ad wrap at 11th and K Streets NW. I haven’t heard back yet from Norman Jemal on why the company decided to take it down, but I’d be willing to bet it has something to do with the building finally being classed as blighted, which carries a ten percent tax. The way the law is written, you don’t pay blight taxes on empty lots. It would be too bad if a well-intentioned law resulted in the destruction of an historic structure like this one.
Fortunately, the system has a check: The D.C. Preservation League filed a landmark nomination several years ago, and the Historic Preservation Review Board has to rule on it before the city can approve the raze permit. I’d be surprised if the Board lets Douglas get away with this one. If they do decide to landmark the building, the company won’t have many options.
Relatedly: The Historic Preservation Office has also decided to fast track the York Theater nomination, since the owners have applied for additional permits. It’s headed for the June 28th meeting agenda.