Twice a month, the city of Birmingham’s Design Review Committee convenes at the Auburn Urban Studio to discuss plans to make alterations to structures that fall within one of the city’s many historic and commercial revitalization districts. This column summarizes recent DRC activity, with projects grouped by type and location. This edition of Design Review recaps the DRC meeting from April 12, 2017.
Returning to the committee was the Empire Building complex (1928 First Ave. N.) and the project to clad the old Alagasco office with an EPHS (“e-fuss”) manufactured brick panel product. The façade materials for the Fairfield Inn portion of the project were presented with new colors, but the presenter did not provide the textured samples requested by the committee. The presentation also included the raising of the cornice to cover the HVAC units atop the old Toby’s building. The plans showed replicating the Empire Building cornice, but the committee disagreed. The presentation was approved with a ⅛-inch mortar depth on the EPHS panels and an agreement to raise the parapet on the center building to cover the HVAC.
The concepts for a Birmingham food park (109 24th St. N.) were presented to the committee. The park would take up the rear parking lot behind United Trophy. The idea is to be able to place five food trucks along the perimeter of the parking lot and develop the center as a place for people to gather to eat and socialize. Neighborhood residents expressed concerns about the hours and activity. There were additional concerns about design and materials brought up for discussion by committee members. Power requirements, set up, garbage, and turf alternatives need to be presented in a more detailed way.
Status: Tabled for more information
19th Street North
A Master Signage Plan for the new Fleetio building (1900 Second Ave. N.) was presented. The new plan was updated with multiple scenarios and will include one roofline sign, and two tenant opportunities on the street level. All signs will be illuminated.
Alabama Power Company (600 18th St. N.) recently updated its organizational branding. The existing signs need to be replaced to reflect the new logos. The signage will again be internally lit.
Five Points South
The forthcoming Hotel Indigo (1023 20th St. S.) update to the old Hotel Highlands will need signage throughout the building. The projecting sign for Hotel Highlands will be removed and replaced with a constructed canopy that will include illuminated letters. The signs on the roofline will be channel letters with halo lighting and will be individually mounted. The committee requested more information about the canopy, which will need to return.
Status: Approved, except for the canopy
Plans for an addition on a mid-century cottage (4402 Sixth Ave. S.) were presented to the committee. The neighborhood association approved the project with the conditions: use 6:6 windows, add gable roof on the front porch, iron railing columns, a cinder block foundation, and brick treads. Discussion ensued about the structure’s contributing status and it was determined the original windows were likely 6:1 not 6:6, so the committee approved the project with all of the neighborhood’s suggestions except the windows. The homeowner accepted the conditions. The committee will require 6:1 windows instead.
New construction plans were presented for a currently vacant lot (1009 Lakeview Crescent). The project was approved by the neighborhood association with conditions that included moving the chimneys to the edge of the roofline, removing transoms, changing window sizes, changing the grill on the front of the roof deck, changing the dormers, and adding brick columns to the back porch as it is visible from the street. The committee added the requirement to add a tree back to the front.
A local homeowner (2900 Norwood Blvd.) plans to replace the windows on her home. The structure is considered non-contributing to the local historic district. She is replacing vinyl windows with windows of the same material.