Purcellville BAR opposes painting of downtown building

The opening of a new restaurant in the old town business district of Purcellville has hit a brick wall of sorts.

While approving most of the exterior improvements undertaken by the new owners of the old Jack’s Run Brewer building on North 21stStreet, the Board of Architectural Review opposed plans to whitewash the red brick building. That paint job had already started on parts of the building, but was halted last month after owners learned city approval was needed. As a condition of the Oct. 28 approval, the BAR demanded that homeowners work with experts to remove the paint.

The requirement sparked objections from owner Shane O’Connor, who has worked for over a year to establish the Bia Kitchen, a fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar, in the two-story, 120-year-old building.

He asked for help from the town hall.

“They recommended contacting the preservation group that recently worked on the building in the US capital to remove graffiti from the January 6 uprising. It’s not an option, ”O’Connor wrote in a letter to the board. “We have already invested 2 years and $ 2.7 million in building restoration, constructing and operating restaurants to world-class levels of design and craftsmanship. We are now investing an additional $ 40,000 in the facade of the building using period windows, pilasters and other recently salvaged materials.

The Purcellville Architectural Review Board is pushing to remove the lime paint treatment from the walls of the new Bia Kitchen building on North 21st Street.

The restaurateur, who previously ran the Blackthorne Inn and Restaurant in Upperville, questioned the city’s commitment to attracting new business and investment.

“When I shared with the BAR that we couldn’t afford the high costs of having a professional curator intervene to remove the paint, their immediate and somewhat disrespectful response was that cost was not their concern or their problem, ”he wrote. “In my opinion, they don’t appreciate or understand the real efforts to restore historic buildings or the economic development of our city. It is disappointing that they would rather see abandoned and deteriorated commercial buildings, rather than support the efforts of those trying to save those buildings. In addition, our projects will bring significant improvements to the city center, generate a high percentage of income for the city and be welcomed with open arms by the entire community.

While other brick buildings along North 21stThe streets are painted, many of which are white, the BAR has tried to keep the red brick aspect.

“The BAR has taken this step in an ongoing effort to protect the facades of the original buildings in the historic city center,” city planner Andy Colon wrote in a report from staff to council.

“The staff and the BAR know all the products and techniques available for removing paint from masonry. BAR indicated that if these products or techniques were found to be unreasonably expensive or ineffective, they would consider approving an appropriate color to paint the building.

In discussing the issue on Tuesday evening, council members agreed to let the issue unfold at the BAR level, but made it clear that they would not let the paint debate slow down or block the opening of the new restaurant.

The Architectural Review Committee also took this position, stating in its motion for approval that it was “not the intention of the BAR to suspend occupancy of the building before resolving this issue”.

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