The Sept. 6 public meeting of the city of Greenville Design Review Board Urban Panel resulted in approvals for all presented projects and positive feedback for a new townhome project on the corner of Rhett and Oneal streets in the West End.
Two applications receiving approval with little discussion were for the exterior up-fit to the 105 N. Spring St. building into which First Community Bank is moving on the street level, and a proposed addition to the Theodore Hellenic Center at 406 N. Academy St.
Reedy River improvements
The city of Greenville’s application for a certificate of appropriateness for the riverscape plan along the eastern side of the river was approved with the condition that a bench and swing be added to reflect the same seating options directly across the river on the opposite bank.
The portion of the riverbank that will receive a major overhaul runs from Japanese Dogwood Lane and Main Street down to the Liberty Bridge landing by the 55 E. Camperdown Way office building.
The city has chosen Beau Welling Design, which is the architect on the adjacent Camperdown development, as the designer for the riverscape project that will tie in the Grand Bohemian Hotel site with Falls Park on the Reedy.
Matthew Anders, representing Beau Welling at the meeting, said the current 5-foot stone wall running along the river in this area has a psychological effect, keeping people from going to the river.
“We’re aiming to provide a better pedestrian experience in this area,” he said.
The area surrounding the office building will become a gathering place, for which the building’s owner, Brody Glenn, says a long-term plan could include a restaurant tenant that could feed off of the foot traffic. The building is currently fully leased, so there are no immediate plans for that, he says.
1 Augusta St.
The former cotton mill buildings now occupied by Smoke on the Water and The Emporium, and the neighboring building housing Mellow Mushroom, are getting a facelift by new owner Taylor Norville. The previous extensive renovations were done in 1995.
The panel approved the plans to replace the wooden windows with aluminum windows and reconfigure the Emporium storefront to have two entrances.
“I’m excited that it’s been purchased and reactivated,” said panelist Robert Benedict.
Panelist Danielle Fontaine said she supports most of the changes with an exception.
“The one thing I do not approve of is the change of the height of the element at the bottom of the storefront,” she said.
She said in looking at other examples along Main Street, buildings of a similar era do not have glass beginning at street level.
Norville said the reason for the change is to let in as much light as possible.
Panel chairwoman Carmella Cioffi and panelist Mitch Lehde agreed with Fontaine, that visually, the plan to remove the current footer would result in an imbalanced appearance.
Panelist Bogue Wallin disagreed.
“Why is it so bad to have something a little different on the street?” he asked, later adding, “I’m not ready to die on my sword, but I raise the question.”
Ultimately, the design was approved with the condition that a mullion divider be included at the current level of the footer, while still allowing for a glass panel at the bottom rather than an opaque, solid surface.
Informal review: Falls Walk
A new 12-unit townhome development at 102 Oneal St. was presented for an informal review by the DRB panel with the intent of submitting for formal review during October’s meeting.
The applicant, Falls Walk LLC, which includes developers Terry Birch and Willz Tolbert, was seeking feedback from the panel in order for the formal review to go as well as possible in October. Prior to the DRB meeting, the developers met with the residents of the neighboring development, the Brownstones, on Rhett Street, and received extensive feedback that they incorporated into the design presented to the panel.
Scott Johnston of Johnston Design Group represented the applicant and described the proposed materials for the project as rusticated brick, accented with natural limestone, and said, if approved, they hope to use terracotta in a more contemporary manner, using panels of white and gray terracotta to create a solid-looking surface that will have visual interest because the panels will be staggered.
Cioffi said she was satisfied with the way the homes are laid out on the site, that the neighborhood meetings went well, and that quality materials are being used.
Fontaine, who lives in the Brownstones, said she appreciated the developers keeping the lines of communication open.