Thursday, July 22, 2010

What is Bowood Farms up to Now?

I was heading home from the Contemporary last night and on a whim decided to take Olive out to Kingshighway. When I got midway between Taylor and Walton, I noticed what looks like the back of a demolition in progress over on Washington. I went around the block and sure enough, 4604 Washington has been decapitated and is the entire back half has been removed.

This is what the house looked like in spring 2009. You may recall that the owner of this home, Bowood Farms, demolished the home just west at 4608 Washington. At the time, there was speculation as to what would happen to the neighboring 4604.

Just to the east of 4604 Washington is one of two in-fill houses that were built a few years ago. While the houses are very plain, they at least match the massing of the exiting homes. As with most new houses though, the sides and rear are vinyl siding, so exposing the west side to the street would be very unfortunate.

Detail of the stone porch columns at 4604 Washington.

Bowood is constructing a sizable new wood structure attached to the former auto shop on the corner. This is at least filling the gap that was another vacant lot between the auto shop and the houses.

The foundation of 4608 Washington remains and part of it has been re-pointed and incorporated into the new structure.

The permit on posted on the front of the house states that it is for demolition and structural stabilization. It does appear that possibly the front portion of the house might be retained, although work at the top of the wall makes it somewhat ambiguous. As for "structural stabilization", that is something I usually associate with a building that say has a collapsed roof, a missing wall or other structural defect. Another larger example of "structural stabilization" is what Pyramid and Craig Heller had to do to Lafayette Square's M-Loft building  (pan down half way through the post) before it could be rehabbed into apartments. To my knowledge, 4608 Washington had no structural issues.

A rear shot shows a new plywood wall across part of the first floor, hopefully another sign that part of this house will be retained. While not preservation in the truest sense, incorporating a portion of the house into something new could be very interesting and not result in a gaping hole in the block. If anyone knows the plans, please share.

Across the street 4621 Washington, which is also owned by Bowood still has its upper windows wide open to the elements. With torrential rain like we had tonight, the entire front part of the interior of this house is surely ruined. Not exactly a great way to preserve a house that they claimed they will renovate, and also not a way to be a good neighbor in general.


Chris said...

And I love how they claim to be environmentalists.

Michael R. Allen said...

The west wall was about to collapse due to years of neglect by the previous owners. Bowood's efforts to get those owners to make repairs failed, so it bought the house and is trying to save some of it. That's better than the emergency demolition that likely would have happened if Bowood had not purchased it.