West End district gets official designation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 14, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The West End Historic District is now official.

The Department of Historic Resources’ state review board and the Virginia Historic Resources Board give their respective nods of approval for including the downtown Suffolk neighborhood on the Virginia Landmarks Register.

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Over the next few weeks, it will be submitted for federal review for inclusion of the National Register of Historic Places.

The West End neighborhood’s high concentration of domestic architecture from the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, and its development to support the growing upper-, middle- and working-class populations of that period, are features that got the state designation for the community.

The district, which includes part of West Washington Street and Brewer, St. James, Linden, Bosley, Maryland, and Virginia avenues, is already considered part of the local historic overlay district, according to downtown development director Elizabeth McCoury. The state and federal votes are for recognition only.

The state and federal historic regulations will not impact what homeowners can do to their property, said Paige Weiss, a local DHR spokeswoman.

&uot;That has to occur on the local level through zoning.&uot;

What the recognition will do is make homeowners who rehabilitate older properties to meet federal guidelines eligible for a 25 percent rehabilitation tax credit.

To qualify for the tax credit, property owners are required to restore a property as closely as possible to its original form.

&uot;The original owner would recognize it if he walked up and saw it,&uot; Weiss said. She noted that Secretary of the Interior standards are followed, which urges property owners to &uot;repair rather than replace.&uot;