Today’s RTD Business section reveals what looks to be the final chapter for a century old building on Broad Street. Most recently the home of Common Groundz Coffeehouse and a collection of 2nd floor apartments, VCU is using the privately held VCU Real Estate Foundation to bypass review by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Because the building at Broad and Gilmer is not state property, it is owned by the VCU Real Estate Foundation rather than the university, it is not subject to review by her department.
The department (of Historic Resources) was made aware of the VCU plans as a courtesy but had no formal role because foundations by law are considered private entities.
VCU plans to erase another piece of Richmond history and replace it with an extension of the already hideous dorm building. The net gain will be 70 extra beds for VCU Students.
Douglas Kleffner, past chair of the Carver Area Civic Improvement League real estate committee, said he’s disappointed VCU plans to tear down a historic building “for not a lot of gain.”
Once again VCU is sacrificing the long term interests of the community for it’s short term interests. A broader vision of the future should include preserving historic structure where possible. This is too bad, because VCU was built to serve the community, not destroy it. They are currently seeking permission to build a much larger development on Marshall Street that shows a lot more planning. I don’t know if we have any leverage in this case, but I’d like to see progress on that project contingent on preserving these buildings. 70 beds won’t make a bit of difference to VCU, hardly worth the good will that they will lose by steamrolling this project.