Collingwood mansion set to be demolished by new owner

View of estate from the front

The iconic Collingwood mansion overlooking the Potomac River will be demolished later this year.

Fairfax County officials this month approved a demolition permit request for the mansion overlooking the Potomac on historic land. Officials approved a new construction permit for a luxury single family home on the property on July 16. (See the permit for 8301 E. Boulevard Drive here.)

“It’s always deeply disappointing to see the loss of a historically significant building, like Collingwood mansion,” Brian Worthy, a public information officer for Fairfax County, told The Washington Post. “While this home is listed on Fairfax County’s Inventory of Historic Sites, this designation is honorific only, and it doesn’t prevent the property owner from making changes, including tearing it down.”

The Collingwood mansion sits on several acres along a hilltop with beautiful views of the Potomac River.

The building until recently was the Collingwood Museum & Library of Americanism, and it was the headquarters of the National Sojourners, a fraternal organization dedicated to veterans.

While the land has centuries of history – it was originally part of George Washington’s estate – the mansion on the property has significantly changed over the years. While some elements of the original 1800s structure remains, previous owners significantly expanded the home in the 1920s and 1930s. Over the course of its history, the building has been used as a restaurant and tea room, professional housing and as a military intelligence school.

The last major renovation was in the 1970s before the property became the Collingwood Museum & Library. For revenue, the non-profit museum organization rented out the home for private events from weddings and birthday parties to corporate retreats.

The estate was purchased for $2.6 million in 2015. While Fairfax County property records withhold the name of the owner, the Washington Post reported it was purchased by Tyler Murrell, a son in the Five Guys restaurant family.

In the 2019 tax year, the property was assessed at $3.055 million (land) and $203,690 (building). 2019 taxes totaled $38,951.

The demolition permit is valid though the end of 2019.

A construction permit, according to Fairfax County, calls for the construction of a single family luxury home including an elevator, wet bar, balconies, a three-car garage and a detached pool house. (The permit description notes are as follows: “new sfd with finished basement with bedroom, with wet bar, elevator shaft, with fireplace, 2 full bathrooms, east and south porch and balcony/upper balcony/front porch/attic bedroom attic wet bar/2 story 3 car side load garage, with studio and full bathroom above with wet bar, detached pool house.”)

The two addresses associated with the permit application for new construction are those of Rill Architects in Bethesda, and Washington, DC-based Petersen + Collins builders.

This article originally ran in Alexandria Living Magazine, a regional magazine covering the businesses, events and issues affecting the dynamic and growing Alexandria area.