Commissioners approve new RH final site plan
By Grace Lovins
Construction of the new four-story Restoration Hardware (RH) building at 300 S. Old Woodward Avenue in Birmingham will resume after the city commission approved the final site plan and special land use permit on Monday, February 27, for the building’s new design.
Back in December, construction of the development was halted after RH and its architects decided to change the design plans. This sent RH back to the city’s planning board, which approved the new site plan on December 14, 2022. Victor Saroki of Saroki Architecture told the planning board at that time that the design was essentially the same with a few modifications.
The new plan shows a change in the building’s orientation, rotated 180 degrees with the restaurant and terrace on the fourth floor now facing S. Old Woodward to the east instead of the west. Part of this modification included the moving of two large pillars from the front of the building to the back, which also allows for more visibility looking in, said Saroki. According to Birmingham Planning Director Nick Dupuis, the development will still have one level of underground parking, however the number was bumped up from providing 24 spaces to 26 spaces.
On top of the change in orientation, the design included a new exterior look made up of tan brick and clear glazing. The storefront glazing has between 58 and 62 percent for three different sides facing Daines Street, S. Old Woodward and Brown Street, but the city requires 70 percent. RH was able to obtain a variance for the three sides as well as a variance to illuminate building identification signage.
“We’re very excited about the new design, the new direction,” Saroki said. “This is going to cost a lot more money, but it is a beautiful and elegant design, and it is in the spirit of where RH is going as a company.”
Mayor Therese Longe noted that the comments made by the commission back in 2021 about the sensitivity to parking in the neighborhoods still stand. “We are thrilled for this development, but we do not want it to be a burden to the surrounding neighborhoods,” she said. The commission voted 4-1 to approve the final site plan and special land use permit.
Commissioner Brad Host voted against the motion, citing his frustration with the deficit of parking in the city. He explained there was a significant waiting list for cars for the Pierce and Peabody parking decks, however Longe refuted that, saying the wait list is for monthly parking permits, not transient or daily spaces.
Commissioners Clinton Baller and Katie Schafer were absent.