I am an architect/planner and Langley Design Review Board member and oppose the demolition of the Dog House.
My argument: First, a lack of documented analysis regarding its renovation, restoration and options; and second, a lack of appreciation for its importance to the site, First Street and the community.
No qualified architectural or engineering assessment exists for accurate estimates. The owners have identified polarities regarding the building’s future — renovation or demolition. In past years, numerous options for the Dog have surfaced. Without any bias toward any option, to demonstrate that options do exist, they are:
1. Renovation or restoration (different).
2. Additions of a restaurant in the lower level with view and deck for viewing the water, and reinforcing the overall structure (empty space underneath).
3. Reconstruction by removing the rear dining room, leaving the front tavern, and completing it with two to four up-scale residential units overlooking the water with on-site parking via Anthes.
4. Reconstruction of the building with a new up-scale restaurant in the rear/waterside portion separate from the tavern.
5. Removal of the building and retention of historic façade.
6. Sell the property to qualified developer(s).
So options? There are many.
The building is vital to the community, both as historic structure and as a community center. It is the anchor for the First Street historic double-loaded contiguous building arrangement and the foundation of the physical identity of Langley. Protecting this configuration is critical to the image of Langley, and the Dog is a key factor.
These owners were aware, at least partially, of this importance when they purchased the property. I am speaking as an individual resident of Langley and must point out that the Design Review Board has a role in assessing design implications of development actions in the city, including demolition, requiring documentation and a demonstration of design intent with sufficient detail. So far, there are none.
Selling the property at a modest profit to someone with the resources and knowledge necessary to work with the building, making a return on investment is the final option.