Commonwealth Preservation Group

Portsmouth Catholic High School, Portsmouth, VA

Portsmouth Catholic High School 1898, Portsmouth, VA

Portsmouth Catholic High School 1898, Portsmouth, VA

Portsmouth Catholic High School almost became the subject of the first test case of RLUIPA. The property owner, Monumental Methodist Church, applied for approval to demolish the building to accommodate additional parking. The City of Portsmouth’s Commission of Architectural Review denied the application and a multi-year battle with the City ensued. The 1891 school had been enveloped on three sides by a 1957 addition, thus obscuring its historic architectural features. After agreeing to a compromise through binding arbitration, the City of Portsmouth became responsible for rehabilitation of the building, while the church was allowed parking on the rest of the site.

Through an RFP process, a developer was selected to rehabilitate the school using state and fe deral tax credits. CPG acted as consultant to the developer to ensure the overall rehabilitation project, including reconstruction of the missing bell tower, met the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The project received the historic tax credits and the building is currently used as an architectural office; it is a gateway to one of the City’s most prestigious historic districts.

Portsmouth Catholic High School Portsmouth, VA   |  Before

Portsmouth Catholic High School Portsmouth, VA | Before

Portsmouth Catholic High School Portsmouth, VA   | After

Portsmouth Catholic High School Portsmouth, VA | After

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