Design Review Alert: The Webb building, on 20th Street North and Second Avenue, has undergone a renovation definitely not in keeping with the design approved by the Design Review Committee back in March (see our initial post, with the approved renderings, here).
Instead of the sleek, metal fascia coursing (with the ability to host signage) proposed by architect Pete Pritchard in March, that was unanimously approved by the DRC, we get scored stucco panels that…don’t seem to be approved by anyone. Unless I’m missing something here, this is an example of a building owner going through the correct motions of hiring a good architect, preparing renderings, going to DRC, and getting approved—and then doing something completely different. Why? And what repercussions are there? This is such an important intersection, and to replace solid, blank infill panels with, well, solid, scored infill panels is not acceptable. What was originally storefront glass transoms needs to be replaced either with glass, or with projecting metal/signage, in order for the building base to be correctly proportioned to the top.
Next door, moreover, the owner also owns another great historic building. Guess what he started doing today? See below:
Yep–they’re painting all that beautiful cornice, trim, and historic brick what appears to be battleship gray, in a manner similar to what we saw in the 1970s when downtown property owners were desperate to try to camouflage all that old-fashioned detail in order to compete with suburban malls. This paint job, unless I’m wrong, did not go to Design Review and is literally going up on the whim of the owner.
[It is my understanding that architect Pete Pritchard has not been engaged in either of these situations.]
I’ve learned today that DRC will review what’s happening at both properties and ask the owner to come into the next meeting to explain himself. Penalties? Not sure, but one obvious one is denial of certificate of occupancy. Let’s hope we’re not left with a recalcitrant owner, a partially painted and heavily stuccoed pair of forlorn buildings, and a frustrated City in a reluctant standoff mode. Stay tuned.
[thanks to Chuck Strahan for the pics]