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Winchester Holds Public Hearing on Fate of Historic Buildings

30 August 2018 News

In a packed Tuesday City Council public hearing, Winchester residents voiced opinions from both sides on whether or not five historic buildings should be demolished to make way for a new development.

Winchester’s Economic Development Authority purchased the entire northeast corner of North Kent and East Piccadilly streets over the course of last winter, with plans to work with developer Piccadilly Street Investments to transform it into a multi-story complex with retail stores, ground-floor parking, and 45 to 48 upper-floor residential units. However, among the properties purchased were structures in Winchester’s historic district, one built as early as 1850. Five in all were protected on July 19th, when Winchester’s Board of Architectural Review denied a request from the EDA and the developer to destroy them.

At Tuesday’s meeting, those in favor of demolishing the buildings said that the development that would replace them would be a catalyst for other projects and investments in the area, and that the complex would help to keep Winchester relevant. However, opponents maintained that destroying the structures would damage the historic integrity of the district. Preservation of Historic Winchester member Edward Acker suggested improving the existing buildings and tying them into the new construction. Winchester City Council will weigh all points of view when it makes its final decision on September 11th, after consulting with the Board of Architectural Review on the matter.

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