The Coca Cola Building at 1705 North Market Street which preservationists have said is a valuable historic ‘resource’ has suffered a serious assault by graffiti vandals. Three large graffiti designs or messages were painted on the building one night a few weeks ago. The most complete of the three in chunky stylized and overlapping characters is next to the front reception entrance to the building. Another on a brick wall panel to the left of the main gate only has the outlines of characters and appears to have been abandoned half-done.
see authors photographs below
Perhaps the perps ran out of materials. Or time?
A third one was painted on a large white roll-up door to a drive-in.
As well as the carefully crafted graffiti logo style characters the graffiti has two quickly written messages:
- “Can’t stop us”
- “I’ve got more paint”
The graffiti highlights the downside of extreme preservationists ‘total preservation’ ideology under which they attempt to force the property owner to preserve the whole site and all its buildings regardless of their utility. This often renders it worthless.
Only by finding a financially viable use for the property can there be the maintenance and security needed to prevent this kind of vandalism.
There is hope for preservation at the Coca Cola building thanks to the Mayor and Board decision earlier this summer to keep the Historic Preservation Commission out of the site at 1705 North Market Street. A Leesburg developer of multi-family housing has a contract of purchase on the site, conditional on being protected from the Commission.
City staff and extreme preservationists would rather kill the multifamily housing project because it requires that rear buildings be demolished. The developer said only the facade and major streetfront elements can be retained, since the rest is in poor condition and new construction is needed behind the facade for the residential use.
Even without the burdens of HPC involvement it remains a marginal project however given the schools to the south and the rather unattractive commercial strip to the north.
- editor 2014-08-05
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