Elevator allowed; patio proposed
The Historical and Architectural Review Board approved a proposal to install an elevator and stair shaft at the rear façade of 523-525 Main St. Since he was one of the applicants, Chairman Fred Bonsall recused himself from voting on this one agenda item at the Feb. 5 meeting in the Rotunda. Also representing the project was contractor Kevin Serfass.
The project involves removing one of a pair of existing skylights on the roof of the venerable five-story retail brick building to make way for a masonry elevator and stair shaft which would run from the basement to the fourth floor.
When Vice Chair Philip Roeder asked if the old skylight could be salvaged, Serfass remarked that it had been “brutalized” and painted over with tar, and couldn’t be saved.
Bonsall pointed out that the new construction would bring the building up to code and would eliminate the need for two floors of the existing steel fire escape.
A certificate of appropriateness was granted with the stipulation that existing windows from the building would be installed into the walls of the new elevator shaft and the new construction, along with a large area of a back wall that had been previously painted white, be painted to match the color of the rest of the building.
The board was assured that the new construction would have no impact on the decorative façade of the 1893 structure owned by Main St. 523, LLC.
Representing The Wooden Match at 61 W. Lehigh St, General Manager Ronnie Younes received the advice he sought for an outdoor dining patio structure. The restaurant’s temporary canopies are currently located along the tracks outside the former Central Railroad of New Jersey passenger station. Younes explained, “They just can’t withstand the weather.” He asked the board to review his basic proposal for a permanent replacement and offer their guidance.
Marsha Fritz recommended a hip roof to mimic the one on the former train station and pull in the colors from the main building.
Bonsall advised Younes to make the pavilion a “happy place” by including the whimsical architectural elements and colors from the Victorian era.
In addition to keeping the new structure in proportion to the existing building, Younes was told to return with detailed scale drawing to show how it would look alongside the restaurant’s circa 1873 building owned by G&GR LLC. and MS Depot LLC.
Having provided the applicant with approval on the basic concept, and suggestions to improve on the project, the board unanimously tabled the proposal.
The Historical and Architectural Review Board regularly meets the first Wednesday of every month to review all exterior changes proposed to buildings in the Bethlehem Historic District north of the Lehigh River. When a proposed project receives a certificate of appropriateness from the board, applicants must wait for City Council to vote on it before proceeding.