BAR Orders Victory Shoes Façade Restored

Gutted Victory Shoes Entrance The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review says that the demolished Victory Shoes façade has to be restored, Liz Palka reports for CBS-19. It was illegally demolished last month, with property manager Bill Rice and building owner Joe H. Gieck claiming (implausibly) that they had no idea that a permit was required to demolish the façade of a historic structure. The BAR is pissed off, and has ordered them to set it back the way it was. In what sounds like a lucky stroke for the duo, somebody called the BAR to say that they’d removed the curved glass portion of the storefront, rather than allow it to be destroyed, and they’re willing to give it back. Gieck is going back before the BAR next month with a proposed storefront, one that’s premised on the restoration of the old one.

19 thoughts on “BAR Orders Victory Shoes Façade Restored”

  1. The decision means that now the BAR can take them to court. They are trying to use a “previous” design of the spot prior to the sisters, but showed up with nothing more than simple drawings.

    The guy who was given the glass to take to the dump figured they were too important, for whatever reason, to destroy. He kept them and the BAR now has a big weapon on their hands, plus this guy has a nice bit of change to be made for his forethought.

  2. how funny that even the guy charged with disposing of the glass could see that it was not something simply to be thrown away, yet the property owner in the historical district acted like it was just old junk.

  3. How does bar get to levy any type of fine when they are not really accountable to anyone? Aren’t they appointed. I for one look on BAR as nothing more than a bunch of obstructionist. Who in their right mind would want to go through the BAR to do business in the city? They single handedly did in the project at the old bl building across the belmont bridge and have thus far kept any one from building at the corner of ridge, mcintire, and main. just my .02.

  4. Jogger. Like anything the world needs balance. I do not want to the see the mall turned into a bland copy of everything else around. Go to any indoor mall in the USA and tell me you can tell what city your in, much less state, or hemisphere. I would like to protect the area, within reason.

    I like the balance the BAR have found in keeping one side a bit more traditional while allowing the other to be a bit more off the beaten path… as in Live Arts building.

    Now, while keeping a building unchanged because it just old seems silly to me. But if there is some sort of historical significance or relevance to the are then I support the mission. And clearly, this applies to Victory Shoes.

    Rice and his ilk knew what they were doing. You do not go into a church on Sunday services and expect to just be allowed to start playing your harmonica during the services because you feel like it. If you go in that place, at that time, you know what is expected. Deviate from that path and you should expect some grief.

    Interestingly enough, every other person before the BAR sailed through.

  5. As it should be. Assuming this means they won’t get the big-ass fine, the building owners should be happy they were let off the hook so easily. They’re lucky if they get the glass back at a good price – you can’t make that antique curved glass anymore, and if anyone noticed, it was a really beautifully made window the likes of which do not get manufactured any more.

    The message the BAR sends is correct and entirely within their jurisdiction: if you buy/own property in a historic design control district, you have agreed to play by the rules. If you don’t want to do so, then you are free to go and own property in the 99.9 percent of the region that is not in such a district.

  6. It’s the willing, egregious violation of a well-known law on the part of an experienced downtown real estate manager that really pisses me off here. I’m really glad that he (apparently) isn’t getting away with it. Intelligent minds may disagree as to whether the BAR should have approved the demolition of this storefront, but there should be no tolerance for willful violation of the law.

  7. Jogger asks: “How does bar get to levy any type of fine when they are not really accountable to anyone? Aren’t they appointed.”

    What’s that got to do with anything? I have no idea whether or not the BAR is empowered to fine anybody, but the fact that they’re appointed has nothing to do with it. Judges are appointed in Virginia and they certainly have the power to fine (not to mention send people to prison and, indeed, to order that people be killed).

  8. When you go to Vienna, you can eat at the 300-year-old Wegenstein Zum Weissen Schwan restaurant. But if you’d rather eat in an OLD Viennese restaurant, try the 550-year-old Zur Linde.

    Wander around and take in the 18th – 17th – 16th – 15th – century building around town. You can do that nearly anywhere in Europe

    Then come back to preposterous, pretentious, pontifical, pompous Charlottesville where folks get twisted out of shape glorifying a half-century old pedestrian renovation of a petty commercial storefront of zero historic value.

    People in here and out there should be up in arms over BAR mis-management of historic preservation. Instead, you encourage these pygmy tyrants in their quest to retard the development essential to the city’s economic well-being.

    A lot about Charlottesville (and much more about Albemarle)are big time but our implementation of historic preservation is crude, homespun, affected. And to some of us, insulting.

  9. jogger, the BAR doesn’t levy the fines. The City does. The City Attorney’s office is looking into what might be an appropriate fine. I hope it reflects the fact that this was done with malice aforethought.

    What project at the Better Living building did the BAR ruin? That building has no protection on it.

  10. People in here and out there should be up in arms over BAR mis-management of historic preservation. Instead, you encourage these pygmy tyrants in their quest to retard the development essential to the city’s economic well-being.

    Examples, please. I’m interested.

  11. @Stanford– contrary to your argument, the Historic Downtown Mall is a huge attraction for visitors to Charlottesville, and much loved here. It already IS an important part of the city’s economic well-being. Many people find the old storefronts and character of the Mall charming, even if you do not.

    If the BAR consists of pygmy tyrants, then how has vibrant architecture of buildings like Live Arts been allowed? The city and county are full of faceless, characterless buildings and strip malls with For Lease signs in the windows. It’s the economy. You can’t throw a rock without hitting yet another tiresome quasi-Jeffersonian Revival knock-off. More tacky buildings that you can’t tell apart– is that what you envision as the savior of Charlottesville’s economy? Our historically protected areas are far and few between, and have nothing to do with the country-wide downturn in business revenue.

    The Downtown Mall’s architecture provides a trip through the past century. There’s nothing stale about it: from Victory Shoe’s curved glass storefront, Jefferson Theater’s arched windows, Timberlake’s interior, Caspari’s copper cladding, the Paramount’s marquee, Splendora’s vibrant paint colors, to Halprin’s brick pedestrian path tying it all together– it’s an asset to Charlottesville.

  12. I’m sorry, Victoria, but malice is defined as:

    “1. desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness: the malice and spite of a lifelong enemy.
    2. Law. evil intent on the part of a person who commits a wrongful act injurious to others.”

    To say that a property owner that modifies his property acted out of “malice” is a misuse of the term.

  13. Can someone please explain why the shoe store was/is a historical landmark?
    If its just an old shoe store, then why is it historical?
    Is it just the facade that was historical?
    I agree with the BOS decision about this incident, but I also wonder what the historical significance of this building is?
    Is it just old?
    Did Thomas Jefferson start this company or something?
    Please explain.

  14. @notmyrealname– IMHO, I think it could probably be argued that Gieck and Rice felt enough hostility towards the BAR that it drove their decision to impulsively demo without permission.

  15. Jeff, I don’t think anybody’s arguing that the shoe store is a historic landmark. It’s the architectural style of the store that’s noteworthy. It’s one of the few remaining art deco buildings in the area. (Think the Chrysler Building.) Will Goldsmith wrote a cover story for C-Ville Weekly a couple of years ago about buildings that warrant preservation that aren’t yet another Jefferson-style structure—the Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston and Richmond Camera on High Street are two examples that he cited of rare art deco buildings in town.

    That is (was) a façade that really stood out. Even a clueless sub-amateur architecture fan like me can point to that building and say “Art deco! Built in the nineteen thirties or forties!” That’s the kind of thing that makes downtown Charlottesville special. Drive down 29N and you could be in any city in North America. There is absolutely nothing to distinguish it. Downtown Charlottesville is a result of development patterns that go back hundreds of years, beginning with Three Chop’t Road, then the founding of the city (at which time the existing street pattern was established), and then centuries of construction and demolition. Somebody walking down the mall can see the history of the city before them. Most other cities in the country, you just see a series of sterile buildings, designed and constructed by the lowest bidder, designed to last no longer than the thirty year depreciation schedule. Demolishing that storefront leaves The Nook (IIRC) as the only sign that anything was built in that twenty year span downtown. That’d be a shame.

  16. @Jeff, there’s SO much more history in this town apart from Jefferson!

    Today, in Richmond, The Virginia Board of Historic Resources and the State Review Board are considering the addition of the Woolen Mills neighborhood to the National and State Register. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Charlottesville. The owner of the mill, Henry Clay Marchant, was instrumental in saving Charlottesville’s economic bacon after the Civil War. This influential and philanthropic man touched the city and county in so many positive ways, but how many in the area even know his name today? His beautiful home has been zoned industrial and put in danger from the wrecking ball– what a shabby way to remember all he did for Charlottesville.

    This area is filled with many stories like Marchant’s– it’s not all about Jefferson. I’m thrilled that there are people who care about our collective history and the legacy left by those who built this area.

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