Roland Park residents will see a thoroughly remodeled Eddie’s of Roland Park grocery store over the next several years if the owners can obtain approval to build into and above the sidewalk leading to their Roland Avenue store.
Co-owner Michael Schaffer told a gathering of the Roland Park Civic League yesterday that he wants to renovate the interior of the store at 5113 Roland Avenue just as its sister location, Eddie’s at 6213 N. Charles St., was renovated three and a half years ago.
Schaffer and architect Ann Powell unveiled preliminary renderings yesterday that show they also want to alter the front of the store to add a new entry vestibule and outdoor seating covered by a canopy.
“We are now ready to look at exploring a remodel at Roland Avenue,” Schaffer said. “As you all know, this is a different neighborhood and a different community than up on North Charles, even though they’re about a mile and a half apart, so we really wanted to take that community feel …into consideration.”
Powell, a principal of Ziger/Snead Architects and resident of Roland Park, said the Eddie’s renovation on N. Charles Street included a “complete redo” of the exterior and a “market-style approach” to the interior, characterized by “more open space and fresh food on display,” and “that’s really what we’re going for here.”
Powell noted the wide sidewalk and ramp for the handicapped in front of Starbucks, on the opposite end of the 5100 block of Roland Avenue, have made that area a welcoming gathering spot for the neighborhood, akin to an outdoor living room.
“It’s become a great place for elementary and middle school children to hang out and socialize on the weekends,” she said. “It really changes how you look at the entirety of the streetscape and what is the opportunity with that.”
Eddie’s would like to continue that feeling on its end of the block by adding outdoor seating and making other changes that would take advantage of the wide sidewalk and encourage people to linger, Powell said.
She said they studied successful examples of outdoor retail environments in SoHo, Tribeca and the Meatpacking District in New York City, where merchants added metal canopies to their buildings to create transitional areas that extend the threshold of their stores.
Plans would “keep the sidewalk nice and wide for the flow of pedestrians coming and going,” Powell said.
Eddie’s owns the land extending out from the building but there is currently a 25-foot setback on the property line, Powell said, which means current zoning doesn’t permit construction into or above the sidewalk without a zoning variance.
The store would like to install a “low-slung” canopy over the sidewalk, about 14 feet deep, that “engages the entirety of the building,” Powell said.
Under one end, she said, would be a “transitional outdoor space” with tables and chairs, and under the other end would be a “light and glassy” vestibule with automatic doors leading into the store. She said the owner would like to get the community’s support for a zoning variance to permit the canopy and vestibule.
The Civic League board didn’t take any formal action, but reaction from members was positive. Several residents asked if the design team was exploring ways to add more greenery and lighting in front of the store. Others wanted to know how the existing windows and brickwork would be treated.
Powell said preliminary plans call for the windows to be filled in somehow. She said the design team will be exploring ways to add greenery and lighting and will come back to the community with more details.
“As an architect, when I look at that block, it feels so unshaded and dense with concrete,” Powell said, adding that she wants to find ways to add shade and “break up the concrete.”
The Eddie’s representatives didn’t say how much the project will cost. Powell said the team would like to have the design approved in time to apply for construction permits in the third quarter of 2020.
Powell and Schaffer said heavy construction can’t take place between October and January, because that’s the store’s busiest time of year. They said they’d like to obtain permits in time to get the bulk of the work underway in 2021 and that construction would be completed in phases.
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