Saved for denims: Once threatened, store space revived in steel
Threatened with demolition by various developers including current owner Keith Woodard (who once proposed a nine-story tower featuring an unusual automobile elevator), the row of buildings facing the Jefferson Theater on the Downtown Mall has received new life in recent days– particularly with the March 17 opening of the jean theory: store.
"I've heard people say it looks like it belongs in Georgetown or that it looks French," says denim store owner Laura Van Camp. "If you stand out front, you can hear people oohing and ahhing."
Steel sculptor John Rubino credits plans produced by Gregory Brezinski of the Yorktown-based ARCI firm for providing a historically sympathetic design that includes white marble at the base and Rubino's steel above.
Brezinski, born and raised in Charlottesville before moving away to Tidewater, has returned for several high-profile hometown projects, including the office space renovation of the former C&O depot on East Water Street as well as the design of Monticello High School.
The new home for jean theory:, which sells new-and-used clothes at 111 East Main Street, presented a challenge since none of the archival photos detailed exactly how the storefront looked.
"I'm a firm believer that if you can't honestly replicate it, then don't do it," says Brezinski. "We wanted to do something with a period look that at the same time would tell people it was new."