Monday, December 20, 2010

Fate of Central Liquors sign hangs in the balance

The Historic Preservation Review Board has recently heard an appeal from Joe's Souvenir, who now occupies the space on F street where Central Liquors was, to alter the historic Central Liquors sign.  The sign probably dates back to 1936 and is currently in its third location.

Central Liquors moved to Terrell Place on the E street side of the building.  Because of the residences above that space, the sign was not allowed on that building.  The sign now belongs to the owner of the F street building.

The new tenant obviously wants the sign to say "Joe's Souvenir," with an American Flag at the top (where the "C" is currently).

The Location reports that the Board has held over Joe's Souvenir's application to be considered at it's next meeting.

The board's Staff Report and Recommendation (available here) says that they have not reviewed an historic sign in "recent memory."  The staff recommended the sign remain as is.

Here is part of their opinion:

The Central Liquor sign, by its design, size and original materials, exhibits distinctive characteristics representative of the vibrant signage once common in Downtown. The applicant’s proposed alterations would replace so much of the sign’s original material, that the final product would fundamentally be a completely new sign, with only the structural supports remaining from the historic sign. The drawings provided do not convincingly assure Staff that the new neon can replicate the original, or that the proposed Plexiglas can replicate the finish and color of the current sign panel. The applicant has not provided evidence of corrosion or structural weakness that would make preservation unfeasible.  Replicating the existing sign with a new sign of the same dimensions is not allowed because it clearly conflicts with the D.C. Building Code

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