Cugino's seeks approval for Eighth Street move

New building would allow more seating and a residence above the pizza restaurant

The owner of Cugino's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant is seeking the city's permission to remodel a 58-year-old building on Eighth Street to create a new home for his business.

Jeff Hubler has begun the planning process that would allow him to move his restaurant to the building at 41 Eighth St., between Lincoln and Yampa avenues. The building has served as a dairy, hotel, city hall, private primary school and children's museum.

Hubler said the new location would allow him to expand his seating and increase visibility for improved walk-in traffic. He purchased the restaurant on Oak Street almost five years ago.

"My estimate is that it would increase my business by 20 percent," Hubler said. "Right now, I have no walk-in business."

If approved, the remodeled brick building would allow Cugino's to have 11 tables outdoors and 14 inside.

Hubler said his restaurant at 825 Oak St. seats 50, including outside tables. The new restaurant would seat 60 indoors, plus the outside tables. It also would allow him to have his bar on the same level as the dining room. Currently, his bar is on the second level.

Plans for the new Cugino's also call for a three-bedroom residence on the second floor. Hubler envisions it as employee housing.

Plans prepared by architect Keith Kelly of Charles Cunniffe Architects would give the building a new appearance, with a modest tower and peaked roof at one end.

There would be new landscaping between the parking spaces and a front patio that would create space for seven tables. Four more tables would be accommodated by a new wood deck on the south side of the building.

Hubler and his architect would like to cover most of the yellow brick on the front of the building with colored stucco. In some places, gaps in the stucco would allow painted brick to show through, achieving a rough look. But Hubler would like to paint it.

"I think it's the best option to get rid of some of that brick that looks really bad," Hubler said. "I think it's the best way to make (the building) presentable."

However, members of city staff and the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee are asking the applicants to reconsider those plans. Jan Kaminski of the HPAC wrote in a memo to planning staff that he does not believe that painted brick represents historic preservation. HPAC and staff are recommending against stucco and painted brick.

Hubler's proposal has undergone a technical review by city staff members, but no public hearings on the project have been held.

Planner Leif Myhre praised several aspects of the project and said he's committed to working with the applicants to resolve any technical issues.

"Wherever you have an adaptive use downtown, there are challenges," Myhre said.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com.

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