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Published July 30th, 2014
Bricks Fixed to Blend Better Soon
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For the many residents who expressed displeasure about the brick fasade of the still-under-construction Merrill Gardens building at the corner of Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Second Street, the funky chocolate and vanilla bricks will soon look different.
Folks weren't shy about telling the city manager, council members and commissioners that the color scheme was less than attractive. "The brick cladding started to go up about a month ago and it was very disappointing in appearance. I might even say it is visually discomforting," said planning commissioner Tom Chastain.
Travis McDanold, of Wattenbarger Architects in Washington, confirmed that they never received what would have been a very helpful phone call, as the bricking process commenced, regarding the abrupt color non-blend. A mock-up was presented during the planning process, and approved, but it was only a small sample of the bricks and not representative of what a larger field would look like. Entire walls of cream and brown checkerboard were not the original intention of the applicant; throughout the building permit application process, images always depicted two close shades of brown bricks. The architect acknowledged it was a mistake, and noted those happen with any large project.
"The owner wants to be a good neighbor," said McDanold. The cream colored bricks will be permanently stained a deeper brown - a tedious process as workers need to apply stain brick by brick. Four different samples were done in various shades of brown on a section of the existing brick wall; city staff, along with the project manager, agreed on a new and improved color that provides more of a "muted contrast," according to McDanold. Look for staining to start at the end of July and take about 10 days to complete.
Chastain credits the persistent work that planning staff, especially senior planner Lindy Chan, did on behalf of the town to help nudge the developer and owner to remedy the situation. He also points out that Merrill stepped up to the plate and did the right thing, an expensive fix, "just because we asked them."


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