Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com September 13, 2011 at 8:46 am 3,372 19 Comments

County Adding Historical Preservation Tools — In an effort to preserve historic buildings in Arlington, the county is considering some new policies to its “toolbox.” Among the possible new strategies: purchasing properties threatened with demolition, using a “transfer of development rights” to convince developers to preserve historic properties and further surveying residential property in the county to find and catalog more historic properties. [Sun Gazette]

Man With Terror Links Owned Arlington Condo — Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi Arabian national whose Florida mansion was regularly visited by the 9/11 hijackers, also owned property in Arlington. In the mid-1990s, Ghazzawi owned the Penthouse condo in Rosslyn’s The Atrium building. [Washington Post]

Old ACFD Truck Lives on in S.C. — A retired ACFD fire truck that was among the first to respond to the Pentagon on 9/11 is still fighting fires in South Carolina. Quint 109 was retired from Arlington’s Station 9 in 2005, and was sold to the Anderson County, S.C. Fire Department. Although Anderson County repainted the truck, fire officials were careful to leave its “Operation Noble Eagle” sticker — indicating it was at the Pentagon on 9/11 — in tact. [Independent Mail]

  • KalashniKEV

    A more interesting question is “Did SAUDI ARABIA have a more ominous link to 9-11?”

    …and the answer would be YES. Abu Z spelled it all out, but somehow those tapes got deleted.

    I wonder if Essam was a fan of Dremo’s?

    • KalashniKEV

      This is an excellent article and I am confident that the truth will come out in time.

  • The county is preserving historical buildings? Not along the Orange Line they aren’t.

    • KalashniKEV

      What about that rundown slum next to 4 Courts? I was told they’re not allowed to build anything nice there ever…

      • Brooklyn Rules!

        The bagel place is a slum.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I think you are right, Overgrown Bush, I don’t know of any historical buildings preserved along the Orange line. There might, might be some…maybe, but I’m doubtful.

    • Clarendon

      Lets face it, there really are very few actual “historic” buildings in Arlington. There are some older buildings, some of which are pretty cool (relatively) and some people would like to have some continuity with the past and keep them around for a while and that’s great. In terms of the R-B corridor, I just saw a proposal last night where a developer was proposing to buy up the development rights and put a preservation easement on the building that was NTW (now Walgreens) and the building that houses Boulevard Woodgrill, both in Clarendon. This was so they could build an office building in Clarendon which also would restore the facades of the place where 11th is and where the ABC store was and the approach is called out in the Clarendon Sector Plan. So, the County seeking to preserve some of these things.

    • John

      There’s not much left.

      What could have been historic was demolished in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. For example: the 19th century County Courthouse (replaced in the 60s), the 1924 Washington-Lee High School (demoed in ’75), the mid century modern GC Murphys dept store building in Clarendon (which the county did try to save in the mid-80s), the entire south block of 3100 Wilson Blvd which was demolished for Metro construction in ’73, etc. etc.

    • John

      The Clarendon Sears building is actually historic, but you wouldn’t know it with the careless, tacky facade changes when it was converted to offices in the late 90s. The streamline glass block windows and pink neon signage are long gone.

      The only true concentration of historic commercial buildings in Arlington is the north block of Wilson, across from Metro. That’s Arlington’s little “Old Town,” or what’s left of it.

      We’re lucky USPS renovated the historic main branch in Clarendon, and didn’t open a new 10th Street location as originally proposed.

  • KARLington

    I’m confused about whether the picture relates to terrorist suspects (hanging out in bars?), historic preservation (it’s an old bar?) or a retired fire truck (firemen go to bars?)…

    • GreaterClarendon

      It’s the Arlington Tap Room that just opened.

  • Mohammad

    Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi Arabian national whose Florida mansion was regularly visited by the 9/11 hijackers, also owned property in Arlington. In the mid-1990s, Ghazzawi owned the Penthouse condo in Rosslyn’s The Atrium building.

    Big surprise. Half that building is Arab.

  • John Fontain

    Did anyone see the commercial aircraft being escorted very closely by two fighter aircraft on Sunday afternoon? I saw this late in the afternoon, maybe around 5pm.

  • JimPB

    Historic designations sounds nice, but who then bears the burden of costs associated with that designation? It’s not just the likely greater costs for upkeep, but prohibitions of and limitations on upgrades and additional costs, e.g., regarding solar panels for electricity and/or hot water, insulation in walls and otherwise reducing solar heating in the summer and arctic cold penetration in the winter, and enabling access to and within the structures for the handicapped?

    Preserving in pictures, videos, books and audio recordings would generally be a preferred alternative EXCEPT for historical designations of structures that attract sufficient business to be “self-supporting,” or that provide a significant general boost to business. For example, preserving one of the inclines in Cincinnati (city of 7 hills), especially the one immediately overlooking downtown Cincinnati, might be close to self-supporting from fees paid for riding the incline “cars” up and down and could provide a meaningful boost to businesses in the immediate area.

    • CW

      I agree, The most “historical” buildings we have here are probably from the 50’s. It’s not like what you see across the river. Historical designations are crippling and scare away new owners because they can’t touch the thing without miles of red tape. Of course, where they are warranted (someplace with true historical value) it is worth it. But I don’t think they should be pushed just to keep a place looking like the “good old days” of post-WWII suburbia.

      • Take it down a notch

        Fairlington is on the National Register of Historic Places, but that doesn’t seem to hurt sales there or prevent owners from interior renovations.

    • drax

      There’s more than one way to do historic preservation. There’s regulation, but also easements or simply designating without further protection.

    • Smoke_Jaguar4

      I used to work in a building that was deemed “historical” and it was a collosal pain to make any improvements. Back in the 1950’s, they would have never imagined a full data center with the space, electric, and HVAC requirements.

      The problem with historic preservation is that it attempts to maintain a facility exactly as it was at some arbitrary time for perpetuity. Two things that could address this issue is:
      – Allow updates to the infrastructure to meet modern standards and changing uses
      – Time limits on the historic designation (say 20 years) so we can reevaluate and keep the truly historic as opposed to the merely sentimental.

  • Larry the Table Guy

    Sometimes old is simply old, and not “historic.”


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