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Climate Change Forces Civil War-Era Building to be Rebuilt a Few Feet Higher

Rising water levels are forcing one planned redevelopment of a historic property to move the building up a few feet.

The Mill, a building at the heart of Robinson Landing development along the waterfront, is being renovated and turned into a Southern-inspired restaurant. The city filing by local builder Murray Bonitt noted that the building was at one point used as a mess hall for Union soldiers during the Civil War. But the renovation will involve taking the building apart and putting it back together again a few feet above its current elevation.

“Google global warming, historic building, and waterfront sometime,” Duncan Blair, the attorney for the applicant, told Alexandria’s Waterfront Commission at a meeting this morning (Tuesday). “Buildings are being moved, disassembled, or raised to put them out of the flood plain. We saw this weekend there was high water as a result of the full moon. It’s a phenomenon we’re all going to have to deal with and that is the basis for the change of this building.”

Blair said the building will painstakingly reassembled brick by brick.

“The building is currently below the flood plain, and we can’t just lift it up because of the old structure,” Blair said. “You’ll probably read about it in a preservation magazine.”

As the building is put back together, Blair said the brick will be “flipped,” allowing the brighter interior to show on the exterior of the building.

The project is scheduled to be completed sometime in mid-2021.

Image via City of Alexandria

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