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Historic District Faces Development Pressure

Business & Developmentby Ed Gunts5:30 pmJun 6, 20180

For at least two weeks, stone houses in Woodberry are saved from the wrecking ball

Developer has agreed to postpone demolition until after he meets with the community

Above: The front of one of the historic buildings some residents are rallying to save. (Brennen Jensen)

Two historic stone houses in Woodberry got a temporary reprieve from the wrecking ball after a developer agreed to hold off on demolition at least until he meets with the community on June 19.

The tear down had been scheduled to begin on June 15, if the housing department issued demolition permits by then.

The developer, Chris Mfume of CLD Partners, has received a permit to remove non-structural interior walls and wooden additions to the stone houses at 3511 and 3523 Clipper Road, but not the exterior stone walls of the buildings.

Housing officials said today he has not gone beyond the scope of work authorized by the permit.

The decision to postpone additional demolition work came after community residents voiced concerns about the developer’s plan to clear the site to make way for Woodberry Station.

The proposed five-level replacement would contain 80 apartments, mostly “micro” units containing 350 to 450 square feet of space, plus a few one-bedroom apartments.

Preservationists say the stone millworker houses, dating from the 1840s, are a key part of the village that grew up around Clipper Mill.

No Landmark Designation

Like the greater Woodberry community, the houses are not protected by local landmark status.

Some residents say they should not be harmed until the community has seen what will take their place and the city has approved the developer’s plans.

Word of the postponement was issued on Facebook by Brennen Jensen, a resident of Clipper Road who expressed concerns about the demolition work underway.

“The head of the Woodberry Community Association (WCA) has it confirmed that demolition of the stone portions of the embattled properties will not occur before the developer presents his plans at the June 19 meeting of the WCA,” Jensen wrote.

“We are not out of the woods at all (and we’ll be keeping an eye on the properties), but this is good news,” he added.

Mfume could not be reached this afternoon.

On Tuesday, he said that he plans to present preliminary designs for Woodberry Station at the June 14 meeting of the Urban Design and Architectural Advisory Panel.

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