Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Public Market Facade Changes Unveiled

By Christina Georgiou

A concept view of the changes to be made to the front facade of the former
Weller Center building on the 300 block of Northampton Street in
Downtown Easton, which will be the future home of the Easton
Public Market, as well as offices for the Greater Easton Development
Partnership, the Easton Main Street Initiative, and the Easton
Ambassadors program.

Easton's Historic District Commission approved proposed changes to the former Weller Center's facade Monday evening, which will house the Easton Farmers' Market year-round indoor public market, expected to open late this year.

The building will be painted a dark navy blue with "a couple of accent colors," said Anthony Bracali, president of Friday Archictects/Planners. The Philadelphia-based firm, which also designed the Reading Terminal Market, is handling the conversion of the building, located in the 300 block of Northampton Street.

Navy blue canvas awnings will provide cover for a seating area along the front of the building, jutting out over the sidewalk by about five or six feet, Bracali said.

The proposed back view of the Easton Public Market, on Church Street.
Lighting is to be added to the back of the building on Church Street, with two wall sconces that will provide vertical lighting along the wall.

Vertical signs for the public market will be constructed of a lime green painted aluminum with the letters cut through the metal on both the front and back of the building. They will be illuminated at night, Bracali said.

Vinyl signs for Easton Main Street and the Easton Ambassadors, which will be moving their offices into the building along with parent organization and building owner, the Greater Easton Development Partnership, will be located on the door glass in the back of the building on Church Street.

Easton Public Market manager, Jared Mast, noted that all the signs together may exceed the city's 20 square foot limit for signage, but the market intends to apply to the city for a variance.

Additionally, while no changes to the building's Bank Street wall are planned in the immediate future, the market hopes to add a mural there at a future date, he said, noting that the mural may or may not be considered to be a "sign" under city ordinance.

Cindy Cawley, who heads the city's zoning and codes enforcement department, said she thinks the sign's square footage probably won't be a problem, as the signs represent different organizations in the building and each is entitled to 20 square feet.

Commission member Scott Voelker wondered if the choice of dark blue was "set in stone, 'cause I really like the way it looks in the picture as charcoal."

The commission's historic consultant, Christine Uhler agreed, though she noted Easton's Historic District Commission does not have the authority to regulate the color a building is painted.

Commission members said they feel the "G" located in the facade on the center front of the former Weller Center should remain, though it will be painted over. Bracali assured commission members that is the market's plan.

"The utmost care should be taken to minimize damage to the glazed terra cotta tile on the building's facade," Uhler said, in reference to the installation of the awnings and signs. She added that attachments should be placed in the tile joints, as opposed to through the tiles themselves, during installation.

Approval for all the proposed changes was granted, though the commission stipulated the final placement of one of Easton Main Street's signs in the back of the building on Church Street needs to still be discussed before its final placement.

"It's just kind of sticking out," said Voelker.

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