Probably the biggest news to come out of the meeting occurred after all scheduled items were presented. City staff informed the committee at the end of the meeting that Harbert Realty has filed an appeal for the wrapping of the sign atop Two North Twentieth.
Representatives of Harbert brought the project before the city’s zoning department for approval outside of the design review committee. The committee sent a letter to Harbert in December 2012 outlining their concerns and have remained consistent in every presentation and decision. Harbert continues to claim economic hardship regarding the sign. However, the building is said to now be under contract to be sold and it does not include a contingency for the sign. According to the commercial revitalization section of the code, the appeal will go through the city’s housing board of appeals. This will be a public meeting (as are all design review committee meetings).
Developer Joseph McClure returned to the committee to present the updated plans for his residence. Based on requests of the committee and the Neighborhood Association, McClure updated the plans for the second story addition windows. The neighborhood’s concerns with the new plans focused on the windows and whether or not they were proportional to those on the first floor. McClure explained that they will be, but the rendering likely does not explain that clearly. The committee approved.
Originally approved at a DRC meeting last year, Hank Long, Jr., of Henry Sprott Long & Associates brought updated plans to the committee. The structure on the site has been demolished and construction is soon to begin on the new residence. The Neighborhood Association approved and so did the committee.
Greg Heal of Equity Builder spoke to a project they are working on to return a house in Roebuck back to much of its original state. Currently clad in vinyl siding, the company will refurbish the underlying cedar shake, add new cedar shutters, and install a galvanized metal roof (which is not original to the house). The Neighborhood Association approved the plans. However, the committee had some concerns with the galvanized roof as well as the gutters and downspouts. After discussion, the project was approved with gutters that blend in with the roof and downspouts that blend with the body of the house.
Second and Third Avenues North
REV Birmingham is partnering with CommuteSmart to install bike racks on 2nd Ave. between 22nd and 25th Streets and the 1900 block of 3rd Ave. N. The 2nd Ave. N. racks will reflect the butternut color the area is using for the micro-neighborhood’s marketing campaigns and events. The 3rd Ave. racks will be black to blend into the area. The committee approved both projects.
The building housing Burgess Interiors on 2nd Ave. N. will be getting an exterior renovation scheduled for completion in September before Artwalk. James Burgess presented plans to remove the pink paint from a portion of the brick work, clean the lentils, and repaint the brick sections around the storefront. In the case that the paint removal does not work, the committee recommended Burgess work with staff on a color that will blend with the existing brick color. The project was approved.
David Brandt of Fravert Services presented plans to install a large corner sign that denotes the street address of the recently purchased Financial Center building on 20th St. and 5th Ave. N. The site is currently undergoing updated landscaping that has cleared the site for the address paver as well as the view to an outdoor sculpture on the site. The committee approved.
The building situated between Café Dupont and a residential property on 20th Street North is scheduled for demolition. Owned by Bromberg’s, the building is deteriorated and has been vacant for seven years. It was also the subject of a lawsuit between the residential owner and Bromberg’s, which has been settled to include the demolition of the building. Although no new usage of the site is currently planned, there have been talks regarding adding an outdoor café area for Café Dupont. Drawings of the site, as presented by Richard Carnaggio of Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds, include a limestone portal for the gate. The main concern of the committee was that there is no set plan for what will replace that building along 20th St. and they do not want the site to remain an “empty hole” for any period of time. Carnaggio stated that he has a “gentleman’s agreement” with the Brombergs to build the portal and landscape, but no plans have been contracted. The committee tabled the project for one month so plans for the site could be determined.
Five Points South
Howard Rasco of Lathan Associates Architects presented the landscaping plans for the parking lot and front of the new home for First Partners Bank on Highland Avenue. Exterior renovations and awnings for the former Southern Health and Life Insurance Building were previously approved by the committee. The plans included adding a paver walkway through an existing parking space, fencing surrounding some ground-based mechanical boxes, and removing trees along Highland. The committee expressed concerns with the need for an additional walkway for employees (since the public sidewalk was basically next to the walkway), matching the Highland Avenue trees to the existing plantings along the street. Discussion then turned towards the removal of the trees – they are in the city right of way, not on private property. The committee approved the parking lot plans, minus the paver walkway, and requested the architect confer with staff and the city horticulturist regarding the trees before returning to present the revised Highland Avenue plans.
Caron Stallings of Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds returned to the committee to present updated renovation concepts for a retail building on Seventh Avenue South. Plans include patching and repairing the exterior brick, exposing the brick parapet on the main façade, replacing the metal fascia, refurbishing the storefronts, and installing awnings. The color scheme presented consisted of navy blue and warm white. The committee approved the concepts and explained that Stallings will need to return with a multi-tenant signage plan and details of the art project for the wall facing Arby’s located on the adjacent property.
The owner of the ARC building across from Innovation Depot on 2nd Ave. N. is planning a renovation to prepare the site for potential retail space. Architect Willie C. Oliver presented plans for paint and brick color, including a three-foot decorative brick course that will extend from the building along a portion of the adjacent parking lot. Once this phase of the project is complete, Oliver will return to the committee to discuss the canopies and signage. The committee approved.
The outdated readerboard sign in front of Alabama Power’s Metro Center / Appliance Center on 6th Ave. N. has been removed. Stephanie Smith of Reliable Sign Services brought plans for an updated sign to be installed on the site. Although there had been a readerboard there for years, the committee does not allow that type of signage. The plans were carried over to the next meeting so Smith to return to the public utility to develop alternatives.
Photo: 163/365.Bradley Burgess/Flickr