New proposed business hits snag

By Brandon Klein -

CORRECTION: Xue Chen and TJ Wellman are the owners of Typhoon Asian Fusion Bistro, 10 N. Sandusky St., in downtown Delaware. Chen, Wellman and Amanda Sykes are the owners of a potential new business at 12 S. Sandusky St. called the Flying Pig Ale House. Information in an Aug. 26 story was not correct.

Owners of a proposed new business in downtown Delaware were asked for more information from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday night.

Amanda Sykes and Xeugong Chen who own the Typhoon Asian Fusion Bistro, 10 N. Sandusky St., submitted a request to certify the appropriateness for improvements at 12 S. Sandusky St., which was purchased in January.

The owners plan to expand their culinary interests for a new restaurant called the Flying Pig Ale House.

“The city of Delaware would like to commend the applicant and the building owners for filling a vacant store front and helping stabilize and revitalize that block of Sandusky Street,” said city development planner Dianne Guenther.

Sykes said the new business would be a casual, small-plate eatery featuring BBQ dishes, craft beer and a fun place for families to visit.

But the commission tabled the request because there was not enough information about the materials and dimensions from the submitted plans.

“It’s very generic,” said Roger Koch, the commission’s chairman. “[But] you’re on the right track.”

“This is missing a lot,” said commissioner Mark Hatten.

Guenther said the intent was to have city staff work with the owners to smooth out the details of the plan.

And Lance Schultz, zoning administrator, said the city tries to accommodate the variety of requests it receives.

But the commission did not accept that reasoning.

“That would be setting a dangerous precedent,” said commission member Erinn Nicley.

Sykes said she plans to work with the building’s architects this week and present an updated plan at the next meeting.

The commission also tabled a request to certify improvements of Delaware Vision Care, 34 N. Sandusky St., in an attempt to unify the building.

Nothing of the original 1868 building’s first floor facade had survived from several modifications that began in the 1940s. The current aluminum and brick veneer was installed in the 1970s. Facade improvements were made to the upper facade last year returning original elements of the 1868 building.

Owner Ron Gaudio, who runs the optometrist business on the first floor, proposed to paint the lower half of the storefront’s brick veneer a cream color to match the upper facade.

Gaudio asked the commission for a variance to historic district’s architecture standards that prohibit painting unpainted surfaces.

Some commission members expressed concerns that having the entire building a lighter color would make it visible.

“Pop is not what you want in a historic district,” Hatten said.

Koch agreed.

“I don’t like painted brick even though I live in a painted brick house,” he said.

Gaudio said he did not want to take the risk of removing the brick and because it was cost-prohibitive ranging from $40,000 to $50,000.

“I just do not like 1970s architecture even though I grew up in the ’70s,” he said.

Commissioner Sherry Riviera said the proposal was an improvement from the building’s current appearance.

“I think the existing brick is ugly,” she said, and added that variances were accepted for individual situations.

But Hatten said variances are usually granted in a quid pro quo exchange. The commission was interested in having the building’s sign replaced because it was now non-compliant.

But Gaudio and the commission discussed other options for signage including the use of an awning.

Gaudio said he was willing to work with staff based on the commission’s feedback.

“I’m in no great hurry,” he said. “I would be willing to rework some things.”

In other business, the commission provided an informal review of a semi-expansion for 12 West restaurant, 12 W. William St., with a new building at the former West End Grill, 14 W. William St. The owners purchased the vacant lot in June.

The two-story building would extend to adjacent buildings with a patio, a second floor balcony overlook and an exterior, exposed stair case running from William Street.

Koch said it was a creative solution to a vacant site.

And Nicley said it’s the latest design to set a new historic in the downtown, following the construction of Old Bag of Nails and the renovation of Buns restaurant in the last few years.

The owners of 12 West will return at the next meeting on Sept. 28 for final approval.

Additionally, the commission approved a request to certify improvements of 8 N. Sandusky St.

By Brandon Klein

Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.