Another development-versus-historic preservation clash is brewing on Broadway, this time at Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grill.
Since March, the popular restaurant and bar at the corner of Broadway and Fifth Avenue has covered its upstairs rooftop patio with a temporary white plastic canopy. The owners erected the covering without applying for a building permit, and the canopy violates the district’s historic overlay.
The Metro Historic and Zoning Commission staff called the canopy “visibly jarring” in its analysis.
Rippy’s legal representatives are now requesting a permit to construct a brown or black canvas canopy, and attorney Shawn Henry said they have also offered to replace the iron railing with brick in an attempt to improve the aesthetics.
“The facade of that building would get taller and thus there would be some measurable reduction of the appearance of that canopy,” Henry said.
But Tim Walker, executive director of the historic zoning commission, said Rippy’s proposal isn’t sufficient. When the commission takes up the matter at its June 16 meeting, the commission’s staff is expected to recommend disapproval of the proposal.
“They’re trying to build kind of a poor-man’s second story,” Walker said. “If they want additional seating, there are ways to do it and comply and be respectful with the architectural integrity of the district.”
The commission’s staff has suggested four alternatives:
One scenario would allow Rippy’s to build the new canvas tent, but with two caveats: The canopy would be required to be no larger than 15-feet by 15-feet –– much smaller than the patio floor –– and would have to go in the far southeast corner of the terrace.
The bar could also build a full second story, according to the staff. Or if Rippy’s preferred, they could construct just the walls and windows of a second floor, without building a roof. Under this plan, the terrace would mirror that of Bailey’s Pub & Grille, also on Broadway.
The fourth option suggested by the commission’s staff is to build an awning, similar to the one the restaurant used years ago.
But Henry said Rippy’s would have some options if the commission rejects its request.
“The alternative, of course, if this is denied is the installation of a temporary tent,” Henry said. “They could install a tent of comparable size for periods of no more than 90 days.”