The Architectural Review Board, which looks after the historic integrity of Old Town Manassas, may soon be overruled by the city council on a decision to preserve two old buildings.
The ARB disapproves of plans by businessman Harold Logan who wants to demolish two small houses at the junction of Centreville Road and Church Street. His plan is to clear the property and use it for a federal-style office building. Citing the age of these abandoned homes, the ARB ruled in January that the structures should remain standing and remain on the real estate market a little longer.
The Manassas City Council at one point voted not to uphold the ARB decision but then delayed a final decision until a future meeting. Whenever this issue is brought up again, the council should vote to allow Logan to move ahead with his initial plan.
The two structures in question are currently unoccupied and there is no solid action plan in place to preserve them or take advantage of their historical value. One home was built in the 1800s and another in the 1920s. That?s old, but who?s to say that a building predating the Civil War was not torn down to accommodate construction of the current structures or any old building in Old Town. Progress rolls on in this country and old buildings sometimes outlive their usefulness.
Clearing this land to construct a new office building will not threaten the historic foundation which makes Old Town special. The ARB does a fine job of making sure that doesn?t happen. But there are certain circumstances where we try to preserve too much. Old buildings are sometimes worse for a community than something new.
If a new office building is to be constructed at this site, the ARB is in perfect position to ensure it is built within the framework of Old Town?s specific requirements. We doubt the current structures, had they been designed and built today, would pass ARB muster.