Two old Manassas properties could be given new life if the city’s Architectural Review Board approves proposals that would serve a very diverse clientele.
First, in Manassas, Monza is trying to bring a new outdoor drinking option to the city’s historic downtown. Owner Alice Pires has applied for an outdoor open space bar on property 9403 Battle St. which is adjacent to the main Italian store in the Old Town at 9405 Battle. According to Pire’s application to the downtown Architectural Review Board, the bar would be 4 feet wide and 38 feet long. The restaurant already has an outdoor terrace along Battle Street, but the bar would be a separate structure.
The historic architectural district’s design guidelines do not include guidelines or restrictions on outdoor elements, according to the city’s community development staff report on the proposed bar, but “the project components meet the intent of the guidelines.”
The Queen Anne-style house known as WC Wagener House at 9403 Battle was built in the 1890s and is being redeveloped into a mixed-use structure with a new addition to the rear, a restaurant on the ground floor and apartments on the top floors, though the plans for a bar apply to the vacant land between the house and the Monza building at the corner of Battle Street and Church Street.
“The bar blends into the commercial streetscape without detracting from the historical integrity of the establishment. The black metal supports, the grey-blue countertop and the corrugated metal sheets [in the proposed bar] are materials and designs seen throughout the history district,” the employee report reads, recommending review board approval.
“Both proposed location options place the bar in areas that do not disturb the rhythm of the street. In addition, the bar reinforces the pedestrian-oriented design that aims to reach downtown.”
Pires’ Battle & Church LLC purchased the 9403 Battle property in 2012 for $695,000, according to city property records. She could not be reached by InsideNoVa to elaborate on plans for the bar.
Proposed conversion of Tillett Hall
Meanwhile, other developers want to build a private elementary school and daycare on the site of one of Manassas’ historic estates.
An education company plans to build a two-story elementary school and a one-story daycare center at Tillett Hall, a home built in 1885 on a three-acre lot at the northwest corner of Wesley Avenue and Fairview Avenue. The two-story, three-bay house would remain, with the two new buildings and three designated “play areas” to be constructed on vacant land on the site.
The proposal comes from Edugenius US Real Estate Group, LLC, a Midlothian-based company formed in August for which little information is publicly available on the internet. The only person named in the statutes of Edugenius is a Christian Engel.
Renderings submitted to the city show a “miniGenius” school, a private elementary school in Germany. Company representatives could not be reached by InsideNoVa. Materials sent to the examination board do not indicate the capacity of the school or daycare center. According to the application, the property — last valued at just over $2 million — was gifted from the estate of Kenneth and Karen Parsons.
The developer has already met with the review board in “pre-application” meetings, which have generally gone well, according to the city’s staff report, which recommends the board approve the project. On Tuesday night, the plan’s developers returned to the review committee for more feedback. Ultimately, the board will vote on whether to recommend that the city council approve the project.
“Both new buildings are physically remote from Tillett Hall, preserving the integrity of the hall. The daycare is behind the front wall of Tillett Hall,” the employee report reads. “Although the elementary school juts out in front of Tillett Hall, the building is angled to create the illusion of separation. The complexity of the building form is based on Tillett Hall in the building height, the roof shapes and the perceived bays created by the different materials.”