Today’s light-hearted (yet purposeful) post is the first of many to address one of my pet peeves across the city: flagrant disrespect of the City’s Design Review process for renovation of facades (in historic or commercial revitalization districts). Downtown, Five Points, Lakeview, and other popular neighborhoods fall under the jurisdiction of the Design Review Committee, which rules on paint colors, storefront configurations, and signage proposed for buildings within the districts. Now, this is an imperfect, sometimes subjective process–but for the most part the committee strives to ensure that the building’s skin (see previous post) is up to a certain standard.
Here, at the Magic City Grill (which by the way serves a fairly tasty meat-and-three for lunch and a decent Sunday breakfast), you see the transoms covered over with solid painted panels. Not good to start with. But the paint job looks like somebody was either drunk, or paid very little–drips and blank splotches all over the place. But worst of all–the former sign box over the second bay is just painted out–and there is no main sign announcing the business on Richard Arrington (there is a fairly ugly one around the corner on 3rd Avenue). Instead, besides a sign over the fourth bay announcing “Magic City Grill Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop”–confusing since the main restaurant really serves neither–there are two cheap “Pepsi” signs tacked above the storefront. Another very prominent corner, and the place looks like a real afterthought. Good signage and good paint jobs make people want to stop in. This has neither. And those Pepsi signs–well, they don’t belong on an historic building, period. Maybe if they were expertly painted on the alley side(to the right in the photo you can see an expertly painted sign, old school-style: House of Dixie Uniforms).
I don’t think Design Review would have possibly approved this facade “renovation.” If I’m wrong, someone let me know. And the cook in the kitchen didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the exterior improvements or lack thereof: this little post is NOT a commentary on the worthiness of the cuisine.