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Mercantile Hall

Mercantile Hall general manager Wendy Lynch hopes to tear down 413 N. Pine St, shown on the left, to clear space for an outdoor space, an "Urb Garden." The photo here shows the building during renovations in March 2016.

BURLINGTON — A bit of green space is in the works for an area hemmed in by looming brick structures along one of Downtown Burlington’s principal thoroughfares.

Shad Branen, who owns the property, and Wendy Lynch, co-owner of Mercantile Hall and Bon Bon Belle, plan on tearing down the condemned building at 413 N. Pine St., next door to their banquet and meeting facility, to establish an outdoor space they’re calling an “Urb Garden.”

“Merc Hall has couples all the time that want an outdoor space,” said Lynch.

The garden site, which is already part of the parcel with the Mercantile at 425 N. Pine St., is heavily damaged from a fire in April 2014. The fire at the former Schuette-Daniels Furniture store started in the back, preserving the structure’s facade. Following the fire, the furniture store went out of business and Mercantile Hall was renovated from the main part of the former store.

Lynch and Branen had first looked into preserving the facade from the 413 N. Pine building as an entrance to the planned outdoor space, but masonry experts told them there would be no way it could sustain strong winds.

Instead the plan now is to tear down the structure, save the cream city brick, the building’s date stone (dated 1875), and corbels. Those materials would be re-used to make a wall around the outdoor courtyard with a wrought iron gate and lanterns.

“The idea is to do something romantic,” said Lynch. “Romantic, soft and beautiful.”

The proposal is still working its way through the city’s approvals process, though the stamps of approval from the city Committee of the Whole and the Burlington City Council on Tuesday were a big step.

The conditional-use application and site plan are scheduled to go before the Plan Commission on Aug. 14 and the Historic Preservation Commission on Aug. 23.

“The idea is to do something romantic. Romantic, soft and beautiful.” Wendy Lynch, general manager of Mercantile Hall

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Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.

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