Last year one ridiculously rich couple, Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno, bought both the stately Halcyon House and the giant Evermay estate. Initial reports suggested that they were going to live in one, and throw parties in the other (that’s just what you do when you’re the .0001%). More recently, however, the couple has filed an application with the city that clarifies exactly how they plan to use the properties.
Ueno and Kuno made their money in biotech, but like many wealthy magnates before them, they have now turned to charity. They set up the S & R Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting scientific and artistic endeavors among young people. They would like to turn Evermay into the headquarters for this foundation. But to do so requires a zoning variance, and so the couple has filed for one.
This Thursday at 6:30 pm at the library, ANC Commissioner Charlie Eason (in whose district Evermay is) will host a meeting to discuss the couple’s plans. These plans include occasional conferences and concerts. Considering the recent history of the property, this is somewhat ironic. You see, Harry Belin used to rent out Evermay to weddings. It was the only way he could afford to keep the estate. But then the neighbors complained about all the noise and asserted that he had no rights under the zoning code to rent out his property that way. To get around the zoning issue, Belin created the “Evermay Society”, which was ostensibly a charity, but many neighbors questioned its legal status. So Harry gave up fighting and put the house on the market. Then it ended up in the hands of a genuine charity
But S & R Foundation is no Evermay Society. The couple is not going to rent out the property to raucous weddings and the events that will take place there are likely to be sedate. And in consideration of all of this, many of the previously objecting neighbors are already on board. But if you’re interested in the issue yourself, you ought to stop by Thursday night.