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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Preservation Board will review demolition of Central West End mansion

This month's agenda includes a proposed demolition of a two and half story structure at 4608 Washington Boulevard in the northern portion of the Central West End.

With no Google StreetView on this block, the best I can offer is this Microsoft Live view:

From Preservation Board

The applicant is Bowood Farms, a neighboring business on Olive who is also constructing a greenhouse (at 4610 Olive) that appears on the Board agenda as well. Bowood Farms seems a natural neighborhood anchor and a potential catalyst for redevelopment of a long overlooked area of the Central West End. It is upsetting to think that they'd tear down an attractive mansion. I admit I do not know why they are pressing for demolition of the structure yet since the Cultural Resources Office has not yet put the individual agenda items online as of this time. Still, this important structure on a sensitive block is one to watch as the March 23 meeting draws nearer.

Is it significantly deteriorated? Is it the unhappy victim of parking pressures? Is it the unlikely site of an urban farm?

Whatever the answer, something is not right. Bowood Farms already owns two vacant lots on Washington Boulevard on the opposite side of the street--directly across from the proposed demolition (at 4605 and 4611 Washington Blvd.). In addition, Washington Boulevard, starting from Jefferson all the way down to Euclid, has seen far too much demolition for such a grandly constructed and well located street. This means there already exists a presence of vacant lots that might better serve whatever is the purpose of Bowood Farm's proposed demo at 4608 Washington.

It's also worth noting that the 4600 block of Washington Boulevard is conspicuously absent from the local historic district of the Central West End, falling short by one block.

I will follow up on this proposed demolition (including, with any luck, a better and more current photo of the site). I have already called Bowood Farms and did not receive an answer as to what the plans for the site were. For now, I am upset and dismayed that a welcome neighborhood newcomer like Bowood might demolish yet another wholly fine and reusable mansion in the Central West End. Washington Boulevard has lost too many already (see here and here).


Brian said...

There's now an application for Bowood to construct a greenhouse at 4610 Olive. Maybe they need the land for the greenhouse.

Matt M. said...

The greenhouse will be on the opposite side of the street as their current facility, at 4610 Olive. That means that this land is non-contiguous. Maybe some supporting activity for the greenhouse?

Even so, they own the two vacant lots across the street from the home to be demolished. Together, they comprise a large lot.

This property can't be required for the greenhouse itself.

Parking lot? Future expansion space? Who knows?

Regardless, it appears to be a very attractive property and highly National Register eligible (along with the rest of Wash Blvd.).

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