Atlantic Seafood to Move, Grow but Still Look Funky

By Mike Lednovich

The City’s Historic District Council Thursday mostly liked the concept design of the replacement building for Atlantic Seafood on city-owned riverfront property. They approved the initial plans 5-0.

However, there was one overriding concern about the restaurant-seafood store, which is three times bigger than the current building. It was the back of the building.

Since the major feature of the structure is views of the Amelia River, the front of the building faces the waterfront. That means the back of the building is what people would see along Front Street or approaching from Ash or Centre streets.

“What can you do to make the ‘back of the house’ not feel like the back of the house?” asked council member James Pozzetta, an architect who specializes in Lowcountry home design.

Pozzetta suggested moving the current Atlantic Seafood sign to the city-facing side of the new building.

“Maybe it (the sign) is activated on the city side, so how people approach and come to the building for that small piece of the function. So there is actually some activity, some signage and maybe a covering so they don’t get wet,” Pozzetta said. “Maybe the answer is to actually activate it as a usable piece of the building, being that it is on the (highly visible) corner.”

Council member Tim Poynter agreed on relocating the building sign.

“When you’re driving (west) on Ash Street, you’ll know it’s Atlantic Seafood,” he said.

The focus of the design review was to offer improvements to the initial plans submitted.

Architect Michael Stauffer said a side porch with a roof had already been eliminated from the design.

“So far, you’re on the right path,” Council Chair Mike Spino told Stauffer.

Stauffer said the design was based on historic photos of buildings on the riverfront.

“It’s a big box warehouse design with little roofs and a porch for people to enjoy a drink (along the river),” Stauffer said.

Pozzetta also spoke about the two-story roofline and the possibility of reducing its impact on river views.

“A lot of the comments I’ve been hearing are about views from the city back out to the water. To me, the view as you’re coming down Ash Street is the most important. Maybe if that roof form could be broken down and reduced (that would help),” he said.

Stauffer’s submitted plans for the two-story building will have a seating capacity of 151 people.

The building footprint size is 4,330 square feet — three times the size of the current building footprint — and the building itself is 3,040 square feet.

A resolution approved Dec. 5 by the city commission states that because plans for the city’s flood wall protection project cause a conflict at the existing building site, the new building will be located on a city-owned parcel just south of the existing building location.

The next steps are for Stauffer to work with city staff and revise the concept drawings for another HDC review.