The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review on Tuesday granted a permit for demolition of a 60,000 square-foot office complex on West Main Street to make way for a six-story apartment building.
“The West Main Street Architectural Design Control district would not be affected adversely by the demolition of this building,” said Mary Joy Scala, the city’s historic preservation planner.
The board spent little time approving the permit and the vote was unanimous despite a comment from one member.
“Thirty years from now we’ll probably lament taking it down,” said Justin Sarafin. “It’s an example of post-modern architecture on West Main Street.”
Georgia-based Landmark Properties has submitted various applications to build a 192-unit apartment building with 12,000 feet of commercial space on the ground floor.
Board members were not able to consider the future use of the site when making its decision. They will, however, have to issue a certificate of appropriateness for the design of the new building.
The current building on the site, named Republic Plaza, was built in 1988, is a contributing structure for the West Main Street Architectural Design Control district. The one-story building next door — a former Safeway grocery story — is not.
Neither building is on the National Register of Historic Structures.
Scala also said the buildings do not have any features that distinguish them as architecturally significant.
“855 West Main Street is not linked historically or aesthetically to other buildings in the West Main Street ADC district, except possibly by the building materials, which are red brick and standing seam metal,” Scala said.
A nonprofit group will document the history of the buildings for future researchers.
“Preservation Piedmont's Document Before Demolish Program will ensure that this building is fully recorded, if it is indeed slated to be torn down,’ said Sarafin, who is employed by the historic preservation group. “They have been diligently recording Charlottesville’s disappearing structures for years.”
Landmark submitted an application for a special use permit for additional density on Tuesday. The planning commission will have a preliminary discussion on the matter in September.
“’The Standard’ will add one more stitch in the evolving fabric of a vital and energized West Main by replacing surface parking and obsolete structures with a mix of residential and street level retail/commercial,” reads the application’s narrative.
One West Main business owner said in an interview he is looking forward to having more residential units within walking distance.
“The more people that move on to West Main and within walking distance of the Midtown businesses, the better it is for everyone,” said Peter Castiglione, co-owner of the Maya restaurant.
Representatives of Landmark were not present Tuesday, but architect John Matthews was in attendance.
The only request from the board was for the developers to relocate a sculpture and water fountain at the site designed by the late David Breeden. Matthews agreed to the request.