Updated 3/29, 7:00 a.m…see below article…
I was sitting at my computer a few minutes ago when I saw the following message pop up from Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro:
When the Town approved the Harris Teeter project a requirement of approval was the restoration of the house, barn and silo which would be incorporated into the project. Today a contractor on the project severely damaged the barn. I am disgusted by what has occurred. A stop work order has been instituted. You can read my statement here.
Of course, I live in Purcellville, and I’ve been following along with the Cole Farm project for months. The site drawings of how they were going to relocate the barn and silo to another portion of the property, and incorporate them into the architectural designs for the project, were stunning. I grabbed my camera and jumped into the car. Here’s what the barn and silo look like, as of today at 3:45 pm:
I spoke with my husband, who drove past the project around 8:45 this morning on his way to Leesburg, and he said at that time it looked like they were attempting to take the side boards off with a backhoe bucket (forgive me if I am getting my construction terminology wrong). He said he didn’t actually see them take any boards off, but that’s what he thought was happening. That doesn’t exactly sound like they were trying to preserve the boards, but perhaps he was mistaken in what he saw.
According to Mayor Lazaro’s statement:
The Town has issued a stop work order until such time the developer provides a plan as to how best salvage the damaged materials and utilize them (and other period materials if necessary) as part of a structure similar in size and style. We will take every legal avenue necessary to ensure what was told to the public and approved by the Council is adhered to.
I’ll keep you posted as I hear more. I hope this was an accident, and not deliberate. How very disappointing.
Update, 3/29, 7 a.m.: Local commercial real estate site dcrealestate.citybizlist.com put a post out late yesterday that included a letter of apology from the developer. They contend they are “sincerely sorry” and are “committed to delivering a quality project to its tenants and this community.” From the news reports I’ve read, it sounds like the project manager rushed out from DC when he heard what was happening, and that the two man crew that was in place at the time took it upon themselves to start taking the barn down without knowledge of the higher ups on the project. No demolition permit had been issued (obviously), and some plans had been made to release a plan to the public first on how the buildings were to be moved, so it’s quite possible this was a mistake by the crew that was there. Mayor Lazaro has said they are fining the developer $1,000 a day until this is rectified. I’ll post more as I learn more. ~H.