Design Review: a church, some patios, and Penny

05.23.2013 by André Natta · → 6 Comments

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PennyatRegionsField-smallTwice a month, the city of Birmingham’s Design Review Committee convenes at the Auburn University Urban Studio to discuss and approve – hopefully – plans to make alterations to the city’s structures that fall within one of its many historic and commercial revitalization districts. During this week’s meeting, committee members discussed the advantages, disadvantages, and aesthetics of eleven different proposals throughout the city.

Redmont Park/Forest Park Residential

The committee reviewed two residential projects this week. One was a roof replacement in Forest Park. Although originally a flat roof, the owner is replacing it with a gabled roof to match the home while fixing leaking issues with the flat structure. Go Lightly Landscape Architecture presented plans for a landscaping renovation in Redmont Park. This project will affect the driveway, parking, patio, and plantings throughout the front of the home. Both projects were approved by both of the respective local committees as well as the Design Review Committee.

Highland Park

Dan Fritts of LIVE Design Group returned to the committee with the next step in the plans for the St. Symeon Orthodox Church. Fritts introduced changes to the site plan since the last presented to the committee. The city requires a certain number of parking spots and three spaces needed to be added. For budgetary reasons, the covered walkway originally proposed between the new church and the existing building was moved to phase two of the project.

He also presented colors and materials for the building. There will be a copper dome that will not patina, coated brick walls, and a blue metal roof. The windows under the dome will be surrounded with a stucco painted to match the brick used on the body of the church. As for landscaping, the site will use indigenous trees and take care to select species already existing in the neighborhood. Some of the existing trees will need to be removed due to their deteriorating health. After discussion regarding specifics on the planting and colors of the brick, the committee approved the updated plans. Fitts was instructed to return to present the signage separately.


Wes Daniel of Daniel Signs presented plans for updated signage on the American Health Imaging building on the southeast corner of Richard Arrington Jr., Blvd. and 4th Avenue South. The new sign will be a box with back-lit channel letters. The company is removing the phrase “OPEN MRI” from the signage in their new branding campaign. Daniel was told to remove the temporary signage currently in the windows. The committee approved.

Joel Williams of the Williams Partnership presented the conceptual site plan for the proposed Milo’s on Seventh Avenue South. He will return to the committee with materials, landscaping, and final design. After discussion on the building size, parking issues, and delineation of property lines between Milo’s and Arby’s, the committee approved.

The historic Penny the Dog sign, recently restored by Birmingham Hide and Tallow and Accent Custom Signs, will be installed just beyond the exterior right field fence at Regions Field, above the VIP parking lot. The sign had been donated to the Birmingham Barons earlier this year and removed from its long time home along 1st Avenue North. The sign will be seen from both 3rd Avenue South and inside the ballpark and will be lit with spotlights. The plan to install the sign was approved by the committee.

19th Street North

The committee discussed the new signage for The Vault Bar and Lounge, a project also presented by Daniel Signs. The new sign will be black aluminum cut out letters surrounded by exposed neon. The Vault was also required to move the temporary window signage as a condition of approval. The committee approved.

Morris Avenue

Ian WIllicot presented plans for an outdoor café and new signage at Krewe on First,  a recently opened bar and lounge with a cigar humidor and needs a patio area for their smoking customers. Patio furniture will be standard wrought iron table and chairs with a fenced enclosure. The signage is a circular painted aluminum panel, roughly three feet in diameter, and will be bolted to the wall above the door. Both the patio and signage were approved by the committee.


Elizabeth Barbaree-Tasker of REV Birmingham represented Red Mountain Community School (she serves on their board) and New Hope Baptist Church for a signage proposal. The school has moved into the second floor of the church’s outbuilding. There is currently no signage denoting the new location of the school. The proposed sign will be cedar and metal and installed on an existing concrete header beam. It was approved.

Birmingham Green

The committee previously approved a signage package for the Viva Health building on 20th Street North. David Brandt of Fravert Services returned to the committee to present updated ground-level signage plans for the building. The original plans turned out to be cost prohibitive. To update the signage and ensure appropriate space and placement, the signage location has been moved to the bottom section of glass on the second floor. The signs will be brushed bronze and will not be illuminated. The owners of the building have approved and will amend their master plan based on the committee’s decision. The committee approved.


Benjie Shirah presented plans for the initial storefront build-out of a new sports bar at the Uptown entertainment district adjacent to the new Westin hotel near the BJCC. They call for installation of windows, a roll-up “garage” door, and charcoal awnings. Shirah will return with signage and other upgrades to the site as the plans evolve. The committee approved.

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Filed under: Design Review Committee

Andre Natta
Andre Natta

They never gave an exact time frame for Penny's public reappearance. Maybe we can get an answer from the Barons later on today and share it...

Joe Blow
Joe Blow

It's exciting to hear about new projects in the works, and I appreciate the coverage here.

Stuart Oates
Stuart Oates

Thanks for summarizing this for us, Rebecca!


Is Milo's still planning to build a suburban style restaurant with a drive through?

Rebecca Dobrinski
Rebecca Dobrinski

The Milo's will still have a drive through, but the building will front on the sidewalk like the other buildings.