The City Hall chambers were decked out in greenery and red poinsettias for the Dec. 7 City of Greenville Design Review Board Urban Panel meeting, which boasted one of the longer agendas of the year.
On the docket were the next phase of the Camperdown development, an appeal of a previously made decision about signage on M. Judson Booksellers, a renovation of a building at 131 Falls St., and the Gather GVL shipping container food hall. An informal review of the new development adjacent to the BB&T building between Buncombe Street and Hampton Avenue capped the 2 1/2-hour meeting.
An application for a certificate of appropriateness for exterior renovations at 656 S. Main St. was postponed by the applicant, McMillan Pazdan Smith, until the January meeting.
A certificate of appropriateness for the design of the latest stage of the development at South Main and Broad streets was approved as presented with conditions that the developer, Centennial American Properties, come back to the DRB with the lighting and landscaping plans surrounding the building, separately submit the terrace landscaping on the step back, consider the appearance of the service doors on the side, remove the keystones features, and keep the alternate cornice detail more in line with the modern design of the building.
The proposed condo and office building would sit at 305 S. Main St., on the corner of Japanese Dogwood Lane, which Brody Glenn of Centennial American Properties said may become a pedestrian-only walkway leading to Falls Park.
This project, since announced, has received considerable pushback from local conservation groups because of the potential effect on Falls Park, which has led to many revisions of the plan.
Scott Park, land conservation director with Upstate Forever, spoke against the design during the public portion of the hearing on behalf of the Carolina Foothills Garden Club, Greenville Women Giving, and the Daniel-Mickel Foundation. Main concerns included the potential of the building to shade the green space on Japanese Dogwood Lane and the potential for odors around the shared waste management area. The groups requested that the landscape plan include native canopy species.
Panelists thanked Park and the groups for their input and indicated that the landscape plan would be submitted separately and that the location of the building on the north side wouldn’t likely cast a shadow on the existing green space.
Glenn responded that one of the main goals of the project is to be conscientious about the ecological impact. One example given was that the water runoff from Main Street, which goes directly into the Reedy River, would be collected and filtered before it is put back in the river.
As for the waste collection area, they’ll be as discreet as possible.
“We all have trash,” Glenn said.
M. Judson Booksellers
An application for exterior signage at M. Judson Booksellers, 130 S. Main St., which was previously denied by staff, was the subject for an appeal by the applicant, June Wilcox. Ultimately, the appeal was tabled until a subcommittee of DRB panelists Robert Benedict and Danielle Fontaine can meet with Wilcox to work through the font choice for the proposed signage that would be attached to the historic building.
Banners for Furman on Main and vinyl window decals were previously approved for usage, but the proposed large letters running above the front door and windows across the entire front of the building were the subject of much debate.
Chairwoman Carmella Cioffi expressed concern about affixing anything of permanence to the building on the historic register.
“I’m very hesitant to approve signage directly mounted to the building,” she said. “It’s a big concern for me.”
Cioffi, along with the three panelists present, agreed that the bookstore does have a particular difficulty with visibility from Main Street, since there is no noticeable signage at pedestrian eye-level and the building is elevated and set back from regular foot traffic.
Wilcox said that almost every day customers enter the store and comment they were not previously aware the bookstore, along with the Chocolate Moose Bakery and Furman on Main, were located inside. M. Judson has been in the former courthouse for three years.
“I’m probably one of those people who walked in and said, ‘Golly, I didn’t know you were here,’” panelist Bogue Wallin said.
Cioffi said she was open to a different font treatment for the letters that would look more in line with the building.
131 Falls St.
The former Dunlop building at 131 Falls St. has been an eyesore for as long as he can remember, said the building’s owner Nathan Galbreath of Nelson & Galbreath LLC.
Galbreath said the application for a certificate of approval for some exterior changes came as a result of wanting to make the building look better than the current “hodgepodge of windows.”
Architect Chris Stone, of LS3P, said keeping the ADA-accessible entrance on the side of the building necessitates changing out the other windows and painting some to make the appearance more cohesive.
The panel granted approval with the condition that the new anodized window frames match the existing frames.
With very little discussion, a certificate of appropriateness for the design of the proposed shipping-container craft food and drink collective at 126 and 128 Augusta St. was approved.
“Falls Park is the outdoor living room,” said Mack Cross, principal with the developer, Four Oaks Property Group. “This could be the outdoor dining room.”
The brightly colored shipping containers that will make up the structure are a welcome addition to the area near Fluor Field and across from the future South Carolina Children’s Theatre.
Cioffi said she is really excited to see this concept and to see this area of the West End activated.
Fontaine joked that given the time of evening and the length of the meeting, she would’ve liked to see a menu for the new restaurants.
As part of the rezoning application with the City of Greenville Planning Commission, the proposed mixed-use development by the Beach Co. at the corner of Buncombe Street and Hampton Avenue was informally reviewed by the panel.
The project, which will contain retail, restaurant, and apartment units, as well as townhomes, was positively reviewed.
Fontaine said she was very happy the current “no man’s land,” which is so uncomfortable to walk around, will be developed, connecting the museums at Heritage Green to downtown.