Throughout the year, Richmond citizens turn to Historic Richmond Foundation to help them save the character of their historic districts and important individual structures in jeopardy of demolition. As a preservation nonprofit, raising awareness of issues that our community faces is an essential aspect of our mission.
Below you will find a few of the topics to which we are currently devoting our attention. We are committed to the causes that preserve the unique qualities of our city and lure new residents to Richmond.
CAR Task Force
Formed by the request of City Council in the spring of 2009, the Richmond Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) Task Force is responsible for analyzing the purpose and usefulness of our city’s Local Old & Historic District as a watch guard. A collaborative effort between the City, nonprofit entities and private citizens, the Task Force invites opinions from the public and discusses how Richmond operates her review of exterior changes to structures in Historic Districts.
Ownership of Riverfront Land
As the greatest natural resource in the Richmond Region, the James River is essential to the business, recreation and creativity which we maintain as a culture. Historic Richmond Foundation supports the public consumption of views admiring and land surrounding the James River. HRF believes that the preservation of the historic Libby Hill view shed in St. John’s Church Historic District (Church Hill), from which William Byrd II determined our name as a city, is particularly important.
The Richmond Riverfront is a natural resource intended for the consumption of all residents. Historic Richmond Foundation hopes that you will join us in the cause to preserve public lands and views surrounding the river by contacting your local legislators and making known your support.
HRF's position on Richmond's Waterfront Development:
HRF encourages thoughtful commercial and residential development of Richmond’s waterfront on the James River. HRF believes that development should promote the use and enjoyment of the river by city residents and visitors, and attract events and businesses for economic benefit. HRF further advocates that any development includes preservation of The Richmond View from Libby Hill and public access to the river to maintain the James as a source of pride, beauty and historical context for the people of Richmond.
Demolition of Older Properties
The tenet upon which Historic Richmond Foundation was formed as an organization was to confront the demolition of properties in our city’s most historic areas. Today, HRF is a watch guard for older structures, seeking to raise public awareness about this important issue. As a matter of policy, HRF opposes the demolition of buildings over 50 years of age in the city of Richmond that are contributing structures to significant historic neighborhoods, districts or areas.
There are two significant types of demolition with which HRF is primarily concerned; demolition by neglect and spot blight.
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, demolition by neglect is “a situation in which a property owner intentionally allows a historic property to suffer severe deterioration, potentially beyond the point of repair.” Properties that fall into this category are a result of either lack of financial resources or willful land banking.
Spot blight is the process in which a local government applies pressure to a property owner regarding a structure that is found to be a public threat. If the property owner is determined incapable of producing the resources to stabilize the structure, the property is either condemned and scheduled for demolition or acquired by the locality through eminent domain.
HRF is committed to finding creative ways to adaptively reuse buildings to the benefit of both the owner and the community. HRF prefers to collaborate with property owners to find solutions that balance the need for historic preservation and economic viability. When necessary, HRF will intervene with the demolition process and seek to purchase significant historic structures from private owners and/or the City of Richmond. HRF also monitors historic structures that are under threat of demolition by neglect.
Here are two historic properties that HRF is currently monitoring:
- The Meredith House, 133 West Jackson Street, Jackson Ward
- Wills Store, 401 North 27th Street, Church Hill North
- The Christian House, 415 West Franklin Street, Commonwealth Club Historic District