August 22, 2014

It’s puzzling that, in his full-page review of CityCenterDC [“CityCenter vs. Cityheart,” Arts & Style, Aug. 17], Philip Kennicott should fail to accurately attribute architectural authorship of the completed portion of the project. Not noted in the review was the fact that the largest component of the project, a pair of apartment buildings, was designed by my firm, Shalom Baranes Associates, and that the master plan for the project was co-designed by my firm as well. The omission is particularly glaring in that the article credits several out-of-town firms for their roles, including the architect for an un-built portion of the project.

That local participation would go without mention is not entirely surprising, given that The Post has significantly diminished its coverage of local architectural issues.

Shalom Baranes, Washington

Development in Arlington and other built-up communities is almost always redevelopment. The Post’s coverage should recognize that.

A case in point is the Real Estate section’s puff piece on the new Gaslight Square condominiums in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor [“Wide open spaces near Arlington’s bustling core,” Aug. 16]. Builder Jim Abdo boasted of creating “a close-in neighborhood” on “this empty canvas, this city block.” In fact, the block was empty because Abdo bought and tore down several unpretentious garden apartment buildings that had helped anchor a diverse neighborhood until 2007.

At that time, county planners and residents were trying to craft incentives for redevelopment in the area, called Fort Myer Heights North, to preserve some affordable units and provide more public green space and other amenities. Instead of joining this effort, Abdo went ahead with a project reflecting his own tastes and market sense. The result may be stylish and commendable, but it’s also worth noting what was lost.

Carrie Johnson, Arlington

The writer is a former member of the Arlington County Planning Commission.

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