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Thursday, January 26, 2012

VCU demolition update - Before and After

Wow, I've had a real lack of posts here this month, huh? I've been busy, but I'll try and pick up the pace around here...

Time for some updates on the "progress" of VCU's old buildings. First up, the old Common Groundz coffee shop building at 734-736 West Broad Sreet. This 1889 building is now officially gone. I first wrote about this building here, and followed up with another post here. Before:

Today:


Next up are the row houses at 102 (built in 1900), 104 (built in 1900) and 106 (built in 1910) North Linden Street. Gone as well. I wrote about them here last summer. Before:

Today:


Last is the Baptist Student Union at 1000-1002 Floyd Ave, built in 1905. You guessed it, gone. Written about here last Summer as well. Before:

Today:

I didn't take a picture of the former VCU Education Annex building (1954) at 109 North Harrison Street, but you can see in the background of the photo above where it used to stand (on the left).

For now, the VCU Meeting Center at 101 North Harrison Street is being saved. It was built in 1906, and has a fairly storied past. But will it really be saved? The VCU six year capital plan calls for another classroom building on Floyd, right next to the one being built this year. See the map on page 25 of the linked PDF that shows another new VCU classroom building on the exact spot where this over 100 year old former church sits today:

16 comments:

  1. I am a student at VCU now and have been monitoring the demolition of these old buildings, wondering where the uproar from Richmond was to stop it. Thanks for taking the time to post and for all your great information.

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  2. I'm starting to think of VCU as the Borg of Richmond: you WILL be assimilated!

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  3. sickening and so sad. much like "kid these days" it seems vcu lacks respect for much of the world around them.

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  4. I hate to see any of these older VCU buildings torn down and replaced with newer construction. I realize they may not have been kept up as well as needed to due financial constraints or other issues. Richmond does have many restoration companies that could assist in restoring them.

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  5. What a waste of beautiful architecture. Maybe when this college matures it will realize the value of preserving historic buildings on their "campus."

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  6. This is just crazy. VCU can grow without destroying more of the city's architecture and heritage. These buildings have/had character. They need to come up with a different plan.

    It's going to take noise AND clout to get them to change their mind. VCU sends a message to their students every time they do this, "History doesn't matter." It's a shame.

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  7. Can't agree more with the posts here. Yes, not every building is great architecture or worth saving, but coming from an architect, this one is worth saving. It's in fine shape and has a great history that will undoubtedly be forgotten once it's no longer visible. The varied fabric of that area will slowly morph into a boring homogeneous zone (they'd probably tear down Cathedral of the Sacred Heart if they could get their hands on that). We should all be more vocal about this before it's too late. One last thing...VCU builds the WORST buildings in the city...as evidence go and actually look at their School of the Arts building on Broad. It is the ugliest turd of a building I've ever seen; it hurts my eyes to look at it.

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  8. After reading about these buildings last year prior to there demise, I emailed pretty much every member of city council(I would have emailed Dwight Jones but after an extensive search I concluded that Mayor Jones must not know how to use a computer and therefore must not have an email, because otherwise I am sure he would list an email because the peoples of Richmond's opinion is so important to him). I checked my mail daily full of enthusiasm and anticipation for that city council person that was surely going to share my same point of view and passion for the safety and well being of those buildings, someone must understand that those buildings, once taken down, are not coming back. Bruce Tyler, to his credit,wrote me back. Tyler responded with a smug email about how many buildings VCU has saved. Tyler also did not specify which buildings VCU saved, so I assume he meant that VCU's philanthropy towards this city is every building in this city that they have not torn down. So you can thank VCU for the roof over your head, that is if, however, it is still standing.

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  9. Thank you and you literally spotted all the buildings I was wondering about. VCU is horrible. I am an alum and I did archaeology through the school. We had the task of doing a phase 1 under a former Quaker house on Cary Street that got moved across the street. We had evidence of Underground Railroad and VCU just paved over it transferring funds to their private "they can do anything" source. By law VCU is required to do at least a phase 1 before any construction takes place, I watched in horror as they demolished and constructed the horrible buildings on the East side of Belvidere, never doing a phase 1, again the private source. I lived right there and watched and waited, nothing. I actually confronted Trani at a speech about it and he totally blew me off. The site is on Belvidere, one of the oldest roads in the whole United States, I saw with my own eyes evidence of early settlement. I'm so glad I found your site, maybe we can do something before VCU destroys it all. Tara

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  10. Tara, I remember hearing about that, and lived in GRC around the time the planning took place to move the house. I was shocked when I actually saw them preparing to move the house across the street. Thanks for giving the details.

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  11. In NYC, it took the demolition of the majestic old Penn Station (now Madison Square Garden) for the people of the city to recognize the value of historic properties. Hopefully we won't have to see Cathedral of the Sacred Heart gone before people wake up.

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  12. I went to church here in the 60s and 70s - it was the original home of the First Unitarian Church

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  14. Unfortunately NYC learned nothing from the demolition of Penn Station. The city is in full-on teardown mode, replacing historical row houses with glass towers and multi-unit condo buildings. If it's not in a historic district or hasn't been landmarked, it's fair game. I graduated from VCU in 97. It hurts to see this happening in Richmond, in Brooklyn, everywhere.

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  15. I was looking for some other pictures of Richmond and came upon these photos. I attended VCU in the 80s and early 90s, and graduated from VCU. I now much has changed, and some for the better, but the destruction of the houses I find a horrendous act. And, to know the Meeting House "church" was slated for demolition - and I would like to know the updates on that - is quite awful. I always loved that building and its architecture. Certainly, VCU fixing up the Broad Street of old, and even Grace Street, was not a bad idea, but making more inroads into some of these historical structures I find abominable.

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