Pollack Glass Studio and Gallery: The Beginning
As we start our journey we are going to document our process. Since the studio and gallery will be in a commercial location and open to the public for classes and viewing, we are doing this according to code and with safety always at the forefront of our decision making process. Codes differ from state to state, but the national fire code applies to everyone. Codes and enforcement have gotten exponentially strict in recent years. Fire code, building codes, commercial codes, mixed use spaces, fire rating, and ventilation are some of the hurdles we have already encountered and will talk about in more detail as we get further along.
For now, we have to wait about 9 months or so, while renovations happen to the current building, before we can even begin putting in a glass studio. Demo permits were just acquired after approval from the NCDAC (Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee). The NCDAC is made of a mixed board of members who's primary goal consists of preserving the historical "fabric" of certain neighborhoods.
When we got to City Hall for the meeting, we were 14th on docket. We sat through 13 other items while we waited our turn. We watched numerous people get turned down for wanting to do much less than we were planning. It was a gut-wrenching experience to say the least, but we got the approval we needed.
The main structure of the building is a 100 year old house, but the front and the back were poorly constructed additions, which were done probably in the 1950's. The front of the building looks more like a jail than a storefront. It's neither inviting, or in-line with the look of the neighborhood at the moment, but that will soon change. One NCDAC member even cited Villa Vicci on the same block, which is a very large ultra-modern building, and very similar in appearance to what we are planning to do. So, they approved our plans to give the face of the building a more modern look and a few other improvements.
We have a great contractor already on board, whom we have worked with in the past. We have also been working with a great architect, who went to Tulane and is currently working on another glass studio in town. We are just waiting for our final plans to be submitted for approval to get our building permits. Demo should begin within the next month. Wish us luck!