The proposed redesign of the Wyche Pavilion by the Peace Center was not approved July 9 in a 3-2 vote by City of Greenville Design Review Board Urban Panel.
The special public hearing at City Hall began with a false start due to a missing presentation file. After a five-minute recess during which panelist Danielle Fontaine suggested “guests get to know their neighbors,” the presentation resumed. It concluded with city planning staff’s recommendation that the proposal for the enclosure of the current open-air pavilion and addition be approved by the panel for a certificate of appropriateness with various conditions.
Ultimately, the panel went against the staff recommendation, with the motion to approve the design failing. The three opposing panelists – Mitch Lehde, Robert Benedict, and chairwoman Carmella Cioffi – cited the proposed addition’s noncompliance with National Park Service guidelines regarding historic structures.
Per the Land Management Ordinance, the Peace Center can appeal the panel’s decision. The DRB can then decide whether or not to rehear the applicant.
About 120 people filled the chamber and listened while the Peace Center presented further information about the project, requesting the panel approve the project so it could move forward. Six members of the audience spoke in opposition to the project and two spoke in favor.
A controversial concept from its introduction in January, the alteration of what is considered an iconic downtown Greenville structure has been met with both sharp criticism and vehement support from DRB members, city officials, and the public.
At the project’s first public hearing in February, the DRB provided feedback on the design by Summerour and Associates. Based on those recommendations and four additional meetings with members of the city and DRB, the design was updated to make the expansion more subordinate to the existing Wyche Pavilion, per the city design guidelines, while preserving the elements required to transform the Wyche into a fully functioning music and entertainment venue.
The design by Summerour and Associates retained the 3,578-square-foot shell of the Wyche Pavilion. Peace Center President and CEO Megan Riegel and members of the Peace Center board have argued the addition of custom-made windows and doors, wood floors and ceilings, fans, architectural lighting, and HVAC will allow for year-round use.
The architect on the project, Brad Mann, said during the DRB meeting the windows planned were identical in construction and shape to the original windows.
The enclosure of the pavilion would mean it would no longer be publicly accessible in the same way it is now.
The full footprint of the original building (circa 1835), which is almost twice the size of the existing Wyche Pavilion, would be used for an addition to house the infrastructure required to support the venue. This new structure included a glass entryway, a Green Room for artists, restrooms, storage and equipment rooms, and a catering kitchen.
Additional features of this project that did receive verbal support from the DRB included a large outdoor deck connecting to a walkway that cantilevers from the Wyche along the river, and a large gathering space facing Main Street, both of which would be open to the public.