Commission questions 5th Street remodel

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The Steamboat Springs City Architectural Review Commission has asked owners of the Fifth Street Marketplace to tone down their proposed remodels to the building.

At Thursday's architectural commission meeting, the board tabled applicant Bruce Caplowe's plans to remove existing fabric awnings on the building at Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue, replace them with raised metal panels and banners and paint the existing stucco above the windows.

"It is basically a good, solid, sound, good-looking building that fits into the character of the downtown," Architectural Review Commission member Dick Curtis said of the existing building. "(The changes) are a little bit too much. I don't think it is going to stand the test of time."

The Architectural Review Commission, which is composed of the same members as the city's Planning Commission, typically does not review minor exterior modifications to buildings. However, it reviews remodel plans if the plans have been called up for public review for the lack of conformance to the city's building and architectural design standards.

In his report to the commission, City Planner Jonathan Spence recommended the public review. Spence recommended that the applicant eliminate the proposed banners, revise the proposed metalwork to be more in keeping with traditional forms and revise the color scheme to be more homogenous and reflective of traditional downtown colors.

The Fifth Street Marketplace was built in 1990 and consists of single-floor retail and restaurant space totaling 9,400 square feet in two buildings. Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill occupies the main restaurant space. The buildings are made of brick and concrete, with some stucco and wood accents.

Caplowe is proposing to remove the wood awnings and paint the previously hidden stucco.

Colored pennants in metal frames would protrude from the buildings in a color matching the stucco paint. The painted stucco then would be covered with two types of decorative wire cloth or mesh weave attached to a stainless steel frame.

Curtis and fellow commissioner Tracy Barnett said they thought the proposed changes looked like something that belonged in the 22nd century. Commissioner Randall Hannaway said it is a look that could be a little too urban for Steamboat Springs.

"As much as I appreciate your sentiment for new life and bringing a new look to the building, I am kind of one of those guys who like classic things that never go out of style," Hannaway said. "Urbanism is something that doesn't belong in this town."

Commission Chairwoman Kathi Meyer worried about the proposed colors and said she wanted to see more details before approving the remodel.

"I have a real concern about the growing trend in the downtown area, a trend of very bright colors," Meyer said. "I am afraid if we suddenly go for bright neon colors that (it would be) totally out of character with the downtown."

Two commission members, Scott Myller and David Baldinger Jr., voted against tabling the project, saying they were not opposed to the proposed upgrades. Myller said the plans were an attempt by the applicant to do something new and interesting with a strip-mall-like building.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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