Boulder City’s Redevelopment Agency is holding off on awarding a historic preservation grant to local father and son builders Grant and Larry Turner because it is unsure if the project fits the guidelines for the program.
At its March 23 meeting, the RDA members approved 4-1 holding the Turners’ application in abeyance until the Historic Preservation Committee can re-evaluate the project or if the Turners decide to apply for a traditional redevelopment grant instead.
Through Tap Water Management Group LLC, Grant and Larry Turner are planning to turn the former Back in Thyme antique store at 524 Nevada Way into a smoke-free tavern and live music venue. According to Economic Development Coordinator Raffi Festekjian, they are seeking $36,868 in reimbursement for phase one of the project and approximately $63,032 for the second phase.
Festekjian said the second phase grant would come in the 2022 fiscal year, and the Turners will need to submit another application for it.
“For me, the reason we have this (historic preservation grant) is to preserve our historic downtown and this is certainly a building that looks to be in need of preservation. … I think it’s obvious that they have gone through a lot to try and get as much information as they can about the original features of the building,” said RDA member James Howard Adams.
“I’m hesitant to go forward with this project right now when we don’t really know if this is a historic project or if it’s just an RDA project because we don’t have the interior standards,”said RDA member Tracy Folda. “I didn’t see anything showing these would be followed.”
According to their application, the Turners are seeking the historic preservation grant for the following improvements: design, cutting and removing concrete, excavation, footings, stem walls, retaining walls, waterproofing, concrete ramps and landings, installing a structural beam, framing, framing reinforcement and a subfloor for an entry ramp.
Grant Turner said the city had recommended they move forward with the historic preservation grant rather than the traditional RDA one. Through a historic preservation grant, owners can be reimbursed for as much as 50 percent of eligible costs while they can only be reimbursed for 30 percent of eligible costs with a traditional redevelopment grant. Applicants can only receive one of the two grants.
According to their plans, the Turners are planning to move the front door in order to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Larry Turner said the only reason they need to move the door is because “the floor elevation from the sidewalk increases four inches, which we absolutely had to have to get all the ramping inside that’s required for ADA.”
Redevelopment Agency Chairman Kiernan McManus said he thought moving it was “significantly altering the front of the building.”
“I don’t know that the door that’s depicted is what would actually be there, but it doesn’t seem to be anything close to what would be considered a replica of the original building,” he said.
Larry Turner said they were going to keep the original arches, roofing, stucco texture and opening configuration at the front of the building.
Both McManus and Folda said they were concerned about whether the purpose of the project was to preserve the historic parts of the building or just to improve it.
Folda also said the Turners should present the latest set of plans to the Historic Preservation Committee because their presentation had not included all of the renderings and project information.
“Our presentation to the Historic Preservation Committee was with every bit of information required and everything that we had available to us at the time,” said Grant Turner. “I would just defer to the experts on this. If the city recommends that we … proceed with a traditional RDA so be it. … Our intent is to …, regardless of which grant we’re applying for, just to keep the building as original as possible.”
He said they had been researching the building with historian Dennis McBride and architect Alan Stromberg but pictures of the front were hard to come by.
“I feel that they have done their due diligence,” said RDA member Claudia Bridges. “There may have been a lack of costs presented. All in all they (the Historic Preservation Committee) approved of this project.”
Adams made a motion to hold the grant application in abeyance; Bridges voted against it.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at email@example.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.