Letter to the Editor: City should reverse substation’s landmark designation

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The substation at 5210 Wisconsin Ave. NW is seen with temporary artwork on its bricked-over windows. (photo by Kent Boese)

We are completely confounded by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board’s decision to designate the Pepco substation at 5210 Wisconsin Ave. NW a historic landmark [“Substation is designated as a landmark,” Nov. 22].

Given the broad opposition from community members and nearby residents, we call on Mayor Muriel Bowser to reverse this decision in addition to opposing a similar effort to designate the nearby Harrison Street apartments a historic landmark.

These applications are merely an attempt to prevent needed development and are a gross misuse of the historic landmark designation process. Our family lives two blocks from the Pepco substation and one block from the Harrison Street apartments. We walk past both every day to take our daughter to school — we see with our own eyes that these properties are wholly unremarkable, ugly buildings. There is no evidence that significant events occurred there. If these properties are historic, then every building in our neighborhood should equally be considered so.

As close neighbors to these properties, we welcome their redevelopment that could attract new residents and services. These properties are run-down and could be greatly improved upon. Neither merits designation as a historic landmark.

Anna and Aaron Berman, Friendship Heights