Historic building’s owners request façade lift
Landmarks Commission holds to city’s code

By Denise Seyfer - News Graphic Staff

August 21, 2014

 A ramp will be added to the back of the former T.J. Ryan’s tavern to accommodate those with disabilities when the business reopens as the Cedar Place Pub.
Photo by Mark Justesen


CEDARBURG — Questions and comments are circulating about what work is being done at W62 N599 Washington Ave., formerly known as T.J. Ryan’s.

Meanwhile, the owners and investors, including their architect, are navigating through the various codes the city established for its historic structures.

Building co-owner Steve Smith is rehabbing the building to open a new business, Cedar Place Pub. Smith owns the structure and the adjoining one that houses Schwai’s Meat and Sausage with partners Dennis Fox, Barbara and Dick Fischer and Bill Elesh.

The location will receive a new and improved look on its interior and exterior. Building and design plans went before the Cedarburg Landmarks Commission at its Aug. 14 meeting, when Smith requested a Certificate of Appropriateness. The vote passed unanimously.

Issues regarding the front door, paint, panels below the windows, the back structure and disability accommodations as well as the window glass, were discussed.

Currently, the central panel below the storefront window has been replaced; however, it is missing trim. The owners’ architect, Joe Johnson, proposed replacing the panel with cedar, essentially leaving it natural or not painting it.

Further, there was damage and rot to the trim, where the panels meet the steps and sidewalk. In some areas, the wood was replaced by tin, city documents said. Commissioners said the wood trim had to be repaired and/or replaced to closely match the original as possible.

“It is more cost effective to repair (the items) than replace,” Commissioner Jim Pape said.

According to the city’s code, all wood should be painted and windows must be clear. Historically, glass was not tinted. Concerns arose that the insulated, thicker glass – roughly 1 1/8 inches thick for energy efficiency – will result in alterations to the frames. The glass was 3/16 inch thick.

Johnson said the columns on either side of the glass would be altered to accommodate the thickness on the interior, not the exterior. Additionally, the air conditioning unit over the front door would be removed and replaced with glass, he said. The back of the building will showcase a new stairway to give a second exit from the upstairs apartments, so residents are not coming down into the commercial area, according to city documents.

With regard to the paint, Cedarburg City Planner Jon Censky explained that if paint were to be removed, the whole building would likely have to be repainted.

City officials said their preference is that the original brickwork be gently cleaned of paint. However, if that is not economically feasible, the paint on the brick can be repaired where necessary. Sandblasting is prohibited.

Shutters and the “gingerbread” under the windows were not present in a 1961 photograph of the building. The commission encouraged removal of those items.

Upon Censky’s confirmation of the Historic Building Code, the commission recommended repairing the original front door.

Johnson asked to install a single door at 36 inches wide, which meets the state’s code for Americans With Disabilities compliance. He also described placing sidelights on either side of the door, or building a custom door that looks like a double door. The front steps will remain, he added. “The Historic Building Code does permit the door to remain 30 inches wide at the direction of the historical commission,” according to the meeting minutes.

The current front door is a “mock” double door, where the left side is stationary. The right side remains 30 inches wide. The same doorway configuration is found on several Cedarburg buildings.

In order to accommodate individuals with disabilities, a ramp will be installed at the back of the building where a 36-inch-wide door allows easier access.

According to Censky, the Cedarburg Plan Commission will have to grant final approval at its next meeting on Sept. 8.

In other business, the landmarks commission:

■ Approved a request for a bicycle rack with a landscape plan in the front of the municipal parking lot north of Delicately Delicious. The vote was unanimous, with Commissioner Allison Hanson excused.

■ Revised a request for a Certificate of Appropriateness for Cedarburg Cultural Center renovations that include changes and upgrades to its renovations last year. They include new windows for the second floor, divided lights, new doors that are more historic in appearance, change of the awnings from fixed to the more historically appropriate and operable and reroofing of the building, eliminating the red shingles. It was approved without a negative vote, with Commissioners Dick Ellefson recused and Hanson excused.

Denise Seyfer can be reached at .