by Marlene Berlin
When the Historic Preservation Review Board meets this Thursday and next week, Intelsat will not be on the agenda. And in fact, “the case is being postponed indefinitely.”
The application of the DC Preservation League to give landmark status to Intelsat was on a draft agenda released a month ago, but was not on the final version released last Friday.
Kim Williams, the staff architectural historian at HPRB who is handling this nomination, emailed to let me know that “Intelsat is not going forward to HPRB this month because the owner has requested that it not be heard, and there are no permits on the building that would trigger such a hearing. So, the case is being postponed indefinitely.”
Whether this has any bearing on HPRB’s decision or not, the Intelsat building’s new owners do oppose landmark status. ANC 3F Chairman Adam Tope announced at the May 20th ANC meeting that the owners have come out against the designation.
Bruce Yarnall, HPRB’s operations manager, recently told me that in most cases, the owner of a property is requesting or agreeing to the request for landmark status. It is the first step to get on the national registry of landmarked buildings, and that opens up the possibility of a 20 percent tax credit for rehabilitating an historic property. But designation to the national registry does not always follow.
Another reason for deferring, in any case going before the HPRB, is that an affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission is requesting more information. ANC 3F did not request such a deferral. However, some of commissioners at their April meeting commented on the lack of information before voting on sending a letter opposing landmark status for this building. The commissioners voted 4 to 3 to send the letter.