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PITKIN AVENUE BID | FACADE GUIDELINES 1


For questions and comments, please contact the Pitkin Avenue BID: Pitkin Avenue BID 1572 Pitkin Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11212 T 718.922.9600 E execdirector@pitkinavenue.nyc W www.pitkinavenue.nyc Designed by:

Produced by the Pitkin Avenue BID, Made in Brownsville, and Layman Lee with funding provided by the Community Development Block Program

Cover Photo: Pitkin Avenue between Rockaway Avenue and Chester Street, Herbert J. Solomon Designer, March 2000.

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CONTENTS I. Overview

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II. Existing Conditions

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History & Landmarks Zoning Regulations Pitkin Avenue Sign Code Common Design Issues III. Facade Guidelines

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Glossary Signs Awnings Lighting Security Storefront System Historic Features

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IV. Facade Maintenance

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Repairs and Maintenance Code Violations & Fines

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V. Pitkin Avenue Renaissance Program

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Program Description Approved Designs

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I. OVERVIEW

The Pitkin Avenue Facade Guidelines address common design issues that business and property owners face when planning commercial and residential improvements in mixed-use districts. The purpose of the guidelines is to provide creative ideas and encourage good design to participants in the ongoing revitalization of the Pitkin Avenue commercial corridor. By establishing these guidelines, the Pitkin Avenue BID encourages several public and private objectives, including: • • • •

Improve the quality of the corridor’s built environment Enhance the pedestrian experience along the commercial corridor Protect and conserve Pitkin Avenue’s unique architectural heritage Promote economic investment for property and business owners

Good Design Makes Commercial Corridors Stronger The physical appearance of a commercial corridor contributes greatly to the overall image of the neighborhood. Residents, customers, and visitors are drawn to physically attractive commercial corridors. A corridors built environment and architecture is often one of the most interesting and satisfying aspects of the street. Thoughtful design reinforces the positive identity of a community’s retail core and helps to create a “sense of place” that is distinct to the neighborhood.

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“Residents, customers,and visitors are drawn to physically attractive commercial corridors.�

3 Black Cats, 3 Belmont Ave. Credit: Jamar Smith.

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II. EXISTING CONDITIONS

The Pitkin Avenue BID runs west to east and is comprised of 14 blocks from Howard Avenue to Mother Gaston Boulevard. The BID also includes a two block section of Rockaway Avenue from Glenmore to Belmont Avenues. Our retailers are a mix of independently-owned Mom-andPops and name brand chains. Our analysis of the built environment includes a brief history of the Pitkin Avenue business corridor, current zoning regulations, and the common facade design issues this guide seeks to remediate.

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HISTORY

For over a 100 years Pitkin Avenue has been the central business corridor and “Main Street” for the neighborhood of Brownsville. Prewar and Interwar Pitkin Avenue was a congested, bustling corridor lined with pushcart vendors and small Mom-and-Pop businesses. By the midcentury the corridor had witnessed sustained economic disinvestment. Some of Pitkin’s most cherished architecture was razed.

Over the past few decades Pitkin Avenue has witnessed a resurgence supported by both private and public investments. The commercial vacancy rate has plummeted from 25% to under 10%. Property owners are now developing previously underutilized upper floor spaces and the city has responded with an influx of capital improvements to Pitkin’s pedestrian plazas and streetscape.

Top: Pushcart markets in Brownsville circa 1940’s Bottom: Streetseats at Sal and Paul’s Pizzeria on1686 Pitkin Avenue.

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LANDMARKS

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Until it’s demise in the 1960’s, Loew’s Pitkin Theatre operated as a premier movie and stage show venue. In 2010, POKO Partners restored the Theatre’s exterior and the building is now occupied by Ascend Charter School and retailers.


The Pitkin Avenue Public Bath (right) was designed by A.S. Headman and opened in 1905. The architectural style recalled ancient Roman public baths with classical pilasters, columns, arches and cornices.

A BID’s gateway from the west, Zion Triangle and Pitkin Plaza is a 27,500 SF park and pedestrian plaza. The park is a frequent gathering spot for locals and it’s adjacent plaza regularly hosts community-based events.

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Ta p s c o t t St Ave ZONING S u t t e r REGULATIONS

New York City is divided into residential, commercial, and manufacturing districts that dictate the different types of building uses. Most small businesses are located in C1, C2 and C4 districts.

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The majority of the Pitkin Avenue BID is zoned as C4-3, a common zoning distinction for central business districts in New York City. The code allows for a wide variety of commercial uses from mid-size department stores to small boutiques and cafĂŠs. The BID is bookended by C1-3 and C2-3 zones which allow for small to mid-sized commercial spaces.

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PITKIN AVENUE SIGN CODE

MAXIMUM HEIGHT • Signs cannot be higher than 25 feet above the sidewalk or extend into residential portion of building (whichever is lower applies). • Cannot obstruct windows. • Sign cannot be on the roof. SHINGLE OR FLAG SIGNS • Cannot project more than 18 inches. Bottom of sign must be at least 10 feet above the sidewalk. AWNING • Can only display business name and address. Graphics cannot be larger than 12 square feet. Lettering cannot be more than 12 inches high. • Awning must be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk and cannot project more than 8 feet from the building facade.

FLAT “BANNER” SIGN • Cannot project more than 12 inches from the building.

ILLUMUNATED SIGNS • Cannot be larger than 50 square feet. Cannot flash. NON-ILLUMIATED SIGNS • Cannot be more than 3 times the building’s street frontage. Bottom of sign must be at least 10 feet above the sidewalk. WINDOW SIGNS • Cannot be more than 8 square feet per window. • Maximum of 3 signs per window. Illuminated signs cannot flash.

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Credit: Pitkin Avenue BID, May 2017

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COMMON DESIGN ISSUES

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Historic features in disrepair

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Sign covers upper floor windows and building details.

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Oversized awning covers building details and upper floor windows.

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Cluttered, hard to read awning and signage. Only the business name and address should be on the awning.

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Don’t put corporate logos on signs or awnings

Upper floor windows bricked-up.

See Codes & Violations on page 31

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III. FACADE GUIDELINES 10

GLOSSARY Storefront

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Awning Awnings protect merchandise and customers from sunlight and poor weather. They should be at a size & scale appropriate for the building and should never block upper floor windows.

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Bulkhead Bulkheads sit at the base of the storefront and provide a platform for display windows. They are often made of wood, metal, stucco or ceramic tiles.

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Storefront Cornice A unique design feature that keeps rainwater off the storefront.

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Display Window Large windows used to advertise store merchandise. Shop owners should avoid cluttering the windows with large signs and posters. Small decals are an effective alternative.

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Lighting Lighting should be used to illuminate the signage and display windows. Good lighting is both eye catching to shoppers and enhances safety.

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Security Grille Metal grating that rolls down the front or behind the display windows providing security when the store is closed. NYC building codes require new security gates to be at least 70% open grid style.

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Signs Wall signs are the best way to advertise the name of the business. Sign text should be kept simple, and only include business name, address, and phone number.

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Transom Window Small windows located above the door(s) and display windows. They allow extra light to enter the store and should be kept clear of opaque materials and air conditioning units.

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Windows Upper floor residential windows should be free of signs and advertisements. Existing trim details, such as the sills and lintels, should be preserved and maintained.

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Building Cornice Usually made of lightweight pressed metal, this unique architectural feature is found on the top of the building. Besides serving a decorative function, the cornice helps keep rainwater off the building facade. Projecting Sign For upper floor businesses, projecting or “flag� signs can effectively advertise the business without blocking upper floor windows or damaging brickwork. Brick, Stone and Tilework Unique architectural features should be preserved and highlighted.

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SIGNS When considering your signage a simple design is usually the most effective both aesthetically and economically. Too many decals or signs clutter the display window blocking the view inside the store. Usually a simple, easy to read, sign displaying just the business name is the best design. Keep in mind, the more information on the sign the more the sign installer or vendor will charge. So if you don’t want to break the bank, keep it simple!

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To receive any grant funding from the BID all signs must follow the Pitkin Avenue Sign Code. See page 10.

Channel Letter or 3D Signs Cut from metal or plastic these threedimensional signs are often illuminated and usually mounted to a sign panel but can also be mounted directly to the building facade.

Window Decals Cost-effective window decals come in a variety of font styles and can be customized to include a company logo or other artwork.

Top: Rainbow, 1 Belmont Ave, June 2017. Bottom: Natural Blend, 243 Malcolm X Blvd, June 2017. Credit: Jamar Smith.

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Projecting Signs Projecting signs, or blade signs, are an excellent way to attract customers that are down the block or not directly in front of the store. These small signs are mounted or hung perpendicular to the building.

Gate Box Made of durable steel, a gate box provides a smooth surface for a unique, low-cost, painted sign. Before deciding on a sign painter make sure to receive a draft of the sign design.

Top: The Dutch, 1131 Sullivan St, 2017. Bottom: Jordan Heads Brooklyn, 302 Malcolm X Blvd, May 2017.

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AWNINGS Awnings provide customers shelter from rain and protect merchandise from overexposure to the sun. The size and scale of the awning should match the storefront framing. Awnings should never cover architectural features or block upper floor windows. Like signs, a simple awning design is most effective at drawing in customers and usually the more affordable option.

Awning should be placed below the store sign or cornice.

Awning cannot extend more than 4 feet from storefront

Lettering: Only the business name and address can appear on the awning

Awning valance must be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk

If the building and windows are in good repair, angled awnings without bottoms or sides appear cleaner and more open

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Fixed Awnings Durable and easy to maintain, fixed awnings should be constructed of high-quality, weather resistant canvas such as Sunbrella. The awning should align with the second floor window sill or the bottom of the storefront’s sign. Photo Description

Retractable Awnings Retractable awnings offer a vintage look and allow business owner to close the awning during storms or when the business is closed. They are popular among retailers that have sidewalk sales or restaurants with temporary seating.

Top: Bedstuy Fly, 287 Ralph Ave, June 2017. Bottom: Healthway Gourmet, 177 Patchen Ave, May 2017. Credit: Jamar Smith

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LIGHTING Lighting should enhance the storefront and illuminate key features, such as the sign, entrance, and display windows. Good lighting advertises the store’s products and allows customers to see inside the store. The scale and style of the light fixtures should be consistent with the storefront and building aesthetic.

Neon Lights For a retro-inspired look, consider this lighting type for projecting signs or signboards. Should not be used above upper level window sill if there are residential units present.

Interior Lighting Interior lighting should advertise the store’s products and when used with open grid security gate should easily illuminate sidewalk.

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Gooseneck and Sconce Fixtures Easily directs light toward signs, display windows and other features the business wants to highlight.

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SECURITY Although crime rates on Pitkin Avenue are at historic lows, protecting a storefront from vandalism and theft is still an important consideration during the design process. Computer-based security systems, cameras, and steel roll-down gates all provide business owners the protection their storefront and customers need.

Security Cameras & Systems Security cameras come in a range of colors, styles, and sizes making them easy to integrate with almost any style of storefront. Cameras can be used in place of, or in tandem with security gates. Modern security systems notify local police precincts whenever there is an intruder. Since installing a security system, Macdonough Cafe in Ocean Hill-Brownsville has yet to have a break-in.

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Security Gates As of July 1, 2011, DOB regulations require that new security gates must be at least 70% transparent. Existing security gates that are not open-grille style or 70% transparent must be replaced by July 1, 2026.

Open grid security gates allow customers to see items for sale when the store is closed and help light the sidewalk.

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STOREFRONT SYSTEM A storefronts framing consists of window bulkheads and solid frames. The most common materials used for bulkheads and framing are wood and metal but masonry can also be used.

Wood Framing Wood framing is an attractive option, and can be easily painted to coordinate with other storefront components.

Metal Framing The most common storefront framing type is also the least expensive. Metal framing can be color coated or can come in a rustic finish.

Masonry Framing A more costly but attractive and highly durable material for storefront framing.

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Bulkheads Are made of wood, masonry, or metal, but can also be resurfaced with ceramic tiling or other materials. Bulkheads provide an attractive platform for display windows and protect windows from street activity.

Display Windows A storefronts windows should allow customers a clear view into the store. The windows should be compatible in design and scale with the other components of the storefront. Glass should be clear and energy efficient. At least 50% of the window area should be free of signs and papers. Always use clear glass and replace dark, tinted or textured glass that blurs the view into the store.

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Transom Windows These small windows located above the commercial or residential entrances should be clear of air conditioners and other materials.

Multipane Windows Installing multiplepane windows rather than one large window can save a business money when glass needs replacing.

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Doors & Entrances Doors should be compatible in scale, material and shape with the overall facade. Storefront doors should be made almost entirely of sturdy, thick glass to allow shoppers to see the products inside. Residential door can be made of wood, metal or glass. Transom windows should not have air conditioners or other barriers that keep light from entering the residential foyer and stairwell. Entrances should be in compliance with ADA regulations.

ADA regulations To comply with regulations in the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), entrances should include the following features:

Door width: 32” minimum Door height: 80” minimum 32”

18” 80”

Door Handles: Should be handles not knobs

60”

60”

Doorway: 60” on both sides should be level to allow for maneuvering room

Door sill/threshold: ¾” max height w/ angled edges

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HISTORIC FEATURES Preserving or restoring your building’s unique architectural details is an easy, and cost-effective way to make a storefront stand out. Cornices, tiling, decorative lintels, carved wood and stonework should be preserved whenever possible. Cornices Most cornice restoration can be done by simply power washing, priming and painting the cornice. If your building’s cornice has been removed a metal fabricator can often reproduce the cornice based on the original design. B&B Sheet Metal in Long Island City, Queens designs high quality reproductions.

Carved floral motif, 1501 Pitkin Avenue

Sills and Lintels The sills and lintels provide a decorative function for the building’s windows. The lintels ornate designs and carvings should be preserved or replicated whenever possible. Stone, Brick, and Tilework: Carved stone, engraved tiles and detailed brickwork should be preserved and highlighted. These ornate features are what makes a building unique and memorable.

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Window adornment, 1588 Pitkin Avenue ADJACENT: Top left: Restored ornaments, 1501 Pitkin Ave. Top right: 1588 Pitkin Ave. Bottom left: Ziggurat brickwork, 1603 Pitkin Ave. Bottom right: Cornice, 1598 Pitkin Ave.


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IV. FACADE MAINTENANCE REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE Regular maintenance keeps the building and storefront attractive to potential tenants and customers. Establish a regular schedule for cleaning and small repairs in the short term to avoid costly, complex repairs in the long term.

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Sign Maintenance

Lighting

• Clean signs regularly and repaint if needed • Repair or replace damaged signs

• Replace broken light bulbs and fixtures as-needed • Clean fixture lenses every 3-6 months

Awning Maintenance

Windows and Framing

Awning fabric can be cleaned while still on the frame. Sunbrella recommends the following monthly cleaning:

• Wash display windows regularly • Repair windows as-needed • Clean and/or paint framing as-needed

• Brush off loose dirt and hose down with water • Use a soft brush to clean with a solution of water and mild soap • Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed. Air dry

Facade • Clean and repair brick, stucco and other building materials regularly • Remove non-functioning signs, brackets, etc


CODE VIOLATIONS & FINES Building and storefront work performed without the proper permit or work that does not follow New York City sign and building codes could be subject to fines from the Department of Buildings. It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that all work is up to code and is properly permitted. Open violations can prevent a property owner from selling or refinancing. The DOB will not issue new or amended certificates of occupancy (COO) while DOB violations remain active. Below is a list of common fines levied for storefront and building code violations:

Violation Fine* Sign Code Violation $800 Work Without a Permit $500 Skipped Asbestos Report $2400 Failure to comply with a Stop Work Order

$2000

Work Does Not Conform to Approved Plans

$500-$800

See Common Design Issues on page 13 *NYC Dept of Small Business Srvcs “Storefront Improvements: A Guide for Neighborhood Commercial Districts” 2017

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V. PITKIN AVENUE RENAISSANCE PROGRAM PROGRAM DESCRIPTION The Renaissance Program makes grant dollars available to business and property owners for improvements to commercial properties and businesses within the Pitkin Avenue BID. Property and business owners within the designated program area* may apply for reimbursement of 75% of total project cost**. Eligible improvements include: masonry restoration, window replacement, cornice repair, new lighting, signage, awnings and security gates. Project’s seeking funding from the program must follow the Pitkin Avenue BID’s Facade Guidelines. The purpose of the guidelines is to develop consistent standards for all grantfunded projects. If needed, the BID will provide applicants with a list of recommended architects and contractors with experience in historical restoration. Funding for the Renaissance Program comes from a New York Main Street Program Grant. The BID was first awarded the grant in 2016 and is currently accepting project proposals for that grant cycle. Applications can be found online here: http://pitkinavenue.nyc/storefront-restorationprogram/

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NOTE: The funding for individual renovations and upgrades is distributed to building owners through matching grants. Building owners must pay for renovations upfront. The BID will provide reimbursement for successful projects within 3-6 weeks of project completion.

If you have questions regarding program eligibility please contact the BID office at 718.922.4600

*The designated program area is based on the current grant cycle. Please Contact the BID to find out where the current program target area is located. **Up to per building maximum of $50,000 with an additional $25,000 available per residential unit.


APPROVED DESIGNS MOISTURE PROOF EXISTING COPING WHERE POSSIBLE, REPLACE WHERE REGUIRED-TO MATCH EXISTING

INSTALL NEW WOOD DOUBLE-HUNG WINDOW, AT EXISTING OPENINGS-TO MATCH EXISTING RETAIN ALL SIGNIFICANT HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES; CLEAN, REPAIR AND RESTORE EXISTING MASONRY, AS REQUIRED

EXISTING BRICK TO REMAIN: INSPECT AND RE-POINT AS REGUIRED

EXISTING WINDOWS TO REMAIN

NEW STUCCO FINISH; COLOR TO MATCH EXISTING BRICK COLOR-AS APPROVED BY OWNER AND ARCHITECT

EXISTING WINDOWS TO REMAIN

NEW DECORATIVE 5" TRIM, STUCCO COLOR BY OWNER-AS APPROVED BY OWNER AND ARCHITECT

cricket

NEW PAINTED WOOD SIGNAGE NEW CANVAS RETRACTABLE AWNING, COLOR BY ARCHITECT AND OWNER,SUNBRELLA FIXED FRAME AWNING, PAINTED LETTERS / NUMBERS (CENTURY GOTHIC FONT, 0'-5" HEIGHT) ON 0'-8" LOOSE VALANCE

EXISTING STORE FRONT TO REMAIN

EXISTING SIDEWALK

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MOISTURE PROOF EXISTING COPING WHERE POSSIBLE, REPLACE WHERE REGUIRED-TO MATCH EXISTING

RETAIN ALL SIGNIFICANT HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES; CLEAN, REPAIR AND RESTORE EXISTING MASONRY, AS REQUIRED EXISTING BRICK TO REMAIN: INSPECT AND RE-POINT AS REGUIRED INSTALL NEW WOOD WINDOW, AT EXISTING OPENINGS-TO MATCH EXISTING RESTORE DECORATIVE TRIM, COLOR BY OWNER AND APPROVED BY ARCHITECT INSTALL NEW WOOD WINDOW, AT NEW OPENINGS-TO MATCH EXISTING ABOLITE AD 150 ANGLES REFLECTOR LIGHT FIXTURE (COLOR BY OWNER AND APPROVED BY ARCHITECT)

CARAMEL

NEW PAINTED WOOD SIGN NEW CANVAS RETRACTABLE AWNING, COLOR BY ARCHITECT AND OWNER,SUNBRELLA FIXED FRAME AWNING, PAINTED LETTERS / NUMBERS (CENTURY GOTHIC FONT, 0'-5" HEIGHT) ON 0'-8" LOOSE VALANCE EXISTING STOREFRONT AND SECURITY GATES, TO BE PAINTED, AS PER COLOR APPROVED BY ARCHITECT EXISTING SIDEWALK

± 19'-9" VERIFY-IN-FIELD

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RETAIN ALL SIGNIFICANT HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES; CLEAN, REPAIR AND RESTORE EXISTING MASONRY, AS REQUIRED MOISTURE PROOF EXISTING COPING WHERE POSSIBLE, REPLACE WHERE REGUIRED-TO MATCH EXISTING

INSTALL NEW WINDOW, AT EXISTING OPENINGS-TO MATCH EXISTING EXISTING BRICK TO REMAIN: INSPECT AND RE-POINT AS REGUIRED

INSTALL NEW WINDOW, AT EXISTING OPENINGS-TO MATCH EXISTING

Sal & Paul

PIZZERIA

ABOLITE AD 150 ANGLES REFLECTOR LIGHT FIXTURE (COLOR BY OWNER AND APPROVED BY ARCHITECT) NEW PAINTED WOOD SIGN NEW CANVAS RETRACTABLE AWNING, COLOR BY ARCHITECT AND OWNER,SUNBRELLA FIXED FRAME AWNING, PAINTED LETTERS / NUMBERS (CENTURY GOTHIC FONT, 0'-5" HEIGHT) ON 0'-8" LOOSE VALANCE EXISTING STORE FRONT TO REMAIN

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Pitkin Avenue BID | Facade Guidelines  
Pitkin Avenue BID | Facade Guidelines  
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