Historic Preservation Commission Approves Demolition of Four Depot District Structures

February 14, 2023

On Monday, February 13th, Richmond's Historic Preservation Commission heard four Certificates of Appropriateness concerning the demolition of four houses in Richmond's Depot Conservation District. The Commission voted unanimously to approve the Certificates. The owners of the properties are now free to obtain demolition permits and have the residences demolished.

The Certificates for the properties at 400 N 9th, 406 N 9th, 410 N 9th, and 814 N D Streets were first brought before the Historic Preservation Commission during their December meeting by Bob and Tami Johnson. At that meeting, the Commission did not hold a vote and tabled the COAs, asking the Johnsons to resubmit the Certificates with more information detailing how they would use the property once the structures were demolished.

Bob and Tami Johnson purchased the four properties in 2022 with plans to demolish them and invest $3.2 million to build a 26,000-square-foot, three-story commercial structure. Abilities Richmond, where Tami Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director, would likely use some of the space, while the rest would be rented.

During the first December meeting, the Commission heard comments from Tami Johnson, Bob Johnson, and the public.  During the February 13th meeting, the Commission revisited the COAs, this time with additional drawings of what the completed structure would look like once the structures in question are demolished. The Commission also heard public comment from Depot District residents and business owners of the district who overwhelmingly were in favor of approving the COAs and the Johnsons’ plans for the properties.

The Historic Preservation Commission voted to approve the Certificates of Appropriateness. The condition of the structures and the fact they have been empty for several years, coupled with the Johnsons’ prior work to restore the building at 831 N E St ultimately swayed Commission members to approve the Certificates.

The owners of the properties are now able to obtain demolition permits and have the residences demolished. Before any new construction may begin, they will need to come before the Historic Preservation Commission again to receive another Certificate of Appropriateness for construction.

About the Historic Preservation Commission

Richmond's Historic Preservation Commission oversees new construction and demolition within any of Richmond's four conservation districts. Within a conservation district, new structures and existing structures that are moved, reconstructed, materially altered, or repaired must be visually compatible with buildings and places to which they are visually related.

Before any major outside changes can be made to a structure within a Conservation District, the owner must apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission.

When considering Certificates of Appropriateness, the Commission requires that work be done in a manner that will preserve the historical and architectural character of the building, structure, or site. Among other things, the Commission shall consider:

  • The purpose of the ordinance
  • Historical & architectural value of the structure or site
  • Compatibility of non-original elements
  • Texture, material, style of the structure
  • Continued preservation and protection of the original structure
  • Relationship of structures similar to one within the same district, including visual compatibility
  • Position of the structure in relation to the street, public right of way, and other buildings

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