Upgrades OK'd for downtown building

Three groups of village officials sign off on entrance facelift for office in historic structure

The Hinsdale Village Board last week approved front and rear facade changes to a building in the village’s historic downtown.

At their Jan. 4 meeting, trustees voted unanimously to allow a more decorative entrance and a wall sign with gooseneck lighting at 36 E. Hinsdale Ave. for Performance Wealth Management, which occupies the second floor of the two-story building. They also approved a new awning over the rear door, which older clients often enter to access the elevator.

There was no discussion as they endorsed the recommendation of the plan commissioners, who were united in their general support of the plan at a Nov. 10 public hearing. But the commission attached a couple conditions to their OK, namely that the proposed wood entrance header and the pilasters flanking the entrance be lowered out of concern that the new header would be taller than the existing main entrance for Salon Lofts, which occupies the building’s first floor, as well as adjacent storefront windows. Reducing the height of the entrance design would also ensure the existing limestone trim would remain visible.

Commissioners also recommended that shutters not be installed on the second floor. The stipulations were first advanced by the village’s historic preservation commission, which had reviewed the plan a week prior.

At the Nov. 10 meeting, plan commission Chairman Steve Cashman initially suggested that the public hearing be continued to give the applicant time to revise its plans based on those conditions.

But architect Michael Zalud, representing Performance Wealth Management, indicated that a continuance was not necessary as the changes were acceptable and the header trim would be brought down in height to cover the transom window above the door.

“That would be a simple change,” Zalud told commissioners. “That’s understandable, and that makes sense.”

He said the entrance augmentations would enhance its visibility for visitors, who now often wander next door by accident.

“When people were coming to the building, they don’t even notice that door is there,” he said. “They always go to Salon Lofts and they’re walking around in there looking for our location.”

Cashman remarked that the proposal accomplishes that mission.

“It makes the second-floor tenant entry a little nicer than it is currently,” he said.

“That’s our main concern,” Zalud replied.

Commissioner Cynthia Curry asked Zalud if any thought had been given to installing a more prominent entry door.

“Did you even consider just putting a very nice door that would speak highly of an investment management firm?” Curry inquired.

Zalud responded that it had been considered but that the degree to which it’s recessed worked against that as a solution.

“Just because the door is set so far back, it was still not noticeable,” he said, “It’s four feet back.”

The new rear door awning will be dark blue to help differentiate it from the Salon Lofts rear staff entrance.

“It’s just delineating where that door is, just to give their customers some direction,” Zalud said.

The property is located in the Downtown Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and, according to records, was constructed in 1924 and features two-part Commercial Block architecture. The building was originally a garage for a Ford Motor Dealership once located in the adjacent building at 40 E. Hinsdale Ave. It was later the longtime site of the C. Foster Toys shop. The building has been altered over time, including most recently in 2018, when a new alcove and entrance way were constructed for the second floor tenant space and modifications were made to the existing first floor storefront.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean