Historic Richmond affected by demolition of Second Baptist Church

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Historic Richmond is trying to prevent the demolition of the Second Baptist Church on Franklin Street. It has been standing since 1906. The group says it can be salvaged and reused.

“There is a legal process for reviewing proposed demolitions in old and historic parts of the city. The city removed this slingshot. Why?” said Cyane Crump, executive director of Historic Richmond.

The owner of the Jefferson Hotel also owns the property across the street, Second Baptist Church. It has not been an active church for many years.

In September, the owners of the Jefferson applied for demolition permits. The plans indicate the backfilling of the basement and the landscaping of the site.

“The process matters. We can’t apply the rules to all Davids, but give Goliath a pass. If you are concerned about the impending loss of this beautiful historic resource, please contact the mayor and your representative on city council,” Crump said.

Richmond City Hall says the process was followed. Thirty years ago, the then owner applied for a demolition permit and was refused. But on appeal to the city council at the time, they won.

Today, the Richmond City Attorney’s Office concluded that the 1992 Certificate of Adequacy is still valid and lifted the hold on the demolition permit.

It reads:

“The mayor and the members of the municipal council:

“Because this property is in an old historic part of town, the applicant needs a Certificate of Suitability (COA) from the Architectural Review Board (CAR) before the town can issue a demolition permit . The plaintiff applied for a COA in 1992; CAR denied the request. The applicant appealed to the municipal council, which in turn passed resolution 92-R174-223, granting a certificate of authenticity in accordance with §30-930.6(a) of the municipal code.

“Our cursory review of the facts led us to assume that this COA was not valid given the significant time frame. Thus came the initial conclusion that the applicant should apply for a new certificate of authenticity from the CAR. After further legal analysis, however, the City Attorney’s Office has concluded that the 1992 COA is still valid and we have therefore lifted the suspension of the demolition permit requested by the plaintiff.

“Feel free to share this information with your constituents who have questions about the process.”

“It was 30 years ago. The situation is different now. In fact, tax credits weren’t available in the early ’90s. They’re available now, and there’s a significant financial incentive to help offset rehabilitation costs,” Crump said.

NBC12 has reached out to the Jefferson Hotel’s communications director for comment. We haven’t had a response.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

Send it to 12 here.

Want the best NBC12 stories in your inbox every morning? Subscribe here.

Jerry B. Hatch