Nail Bar, Square commission come to agreement; gourmet hot dog restaurant one of several businesses in former EAGLE building

Published 7:02 am Sunday, December 11, 2016


The owners of the Nail Bar and the Courthouse Square Historic Preservation Commission both made compromises Thursday to allow the nail salon to keep a teal awning in place.

When Kristina and Brandon Connell opened The Nail Bar this summer on the Square, being new to Oxford, where unaware they would have to come before the preservation commission to gain approval for changes made to the façade of their building, located on North 13th Street, facing the city parking lot.

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The Connells put up a metal, teal awning with the salon’s logo that runs the length of the building. They also decorated their windows with triangle decals to match the modern décor inside the salon.

However, the modern look was what some of the commissioners frowned upon when Connell first came before the commission in September.

The commissioners also felt the awning shouldn’t be located underneath a second-story balcony at all, but since it was, should only run the length of the balcony. The awning extends several inches past where the balcony ends. The case was tabled in September to give the Connells time to made changes before being granted a Certificate of Appropriateness.

On Thursday, Brandon Connell returned the commission asking the commission to reconsider allowing them to keep the awning since it was already in place and in exchange, would remove some of the triangles from the windows.

However, several commissioners thought even with some of the triangles removed, the windows appeared “too busy.”

After no one made a motion to approve the COA for the Nail Bar, Connell relented and said he would remove all of the decals if he could keep the awning.

“The expense to remake the awning would really hurt us financially,” he told the commission.

The commissioners voted 4 to 2 to approve the COA request as amended.

Also Thursday, the commission tabled a COA request from Mike Naylor, who plans on opening a Charlie Grainger’s – Hot Dogs, Brisket, BBQ, on the eastern corner of the building that formerly housed the Oxford EAGLE.

The building was sectioned off into four storefronts. City planners said a yoga studio is planned for the western corner of the building, but the planning department has not yet approved those plans.

The original plans called for removing the maroon glass on the front of the building, adding windows to the side of the building that faces 10th Street.

Commissioner Tom Howorth questioned why the need to punch windows into the side of the building.

“Well, it’s a restaurant,” said architect Edye Conkerton. It was later realized the building once had windows on the side but were covered up when the EAGLE used the section for storage.

Kirk Carroway, contractor, said the maroon glass is too old and too fragile to save but said he’d be willing to try or replace it with a similar material.

Howorth said the building, while “funky,” has a certain charm because of its simplicity and that should remain, despite whatever businesses rent space there.

The case was tabled and Naylor and Carroway said they would rework some of the plans and return to the commission next month.