It was a stroke of genius for Genesee Brewing Company to link the demolition of 13 Cataract St. to the planned visitors center and brew pub.

The latest chapter in the fight over 13 Cataract St. is whether it should get landmark status, halting the demolition.

The visitors center could proceed with 13 Cataract St. still standing, but company CEO Rich Lozyniak gave three big reasons that’s not going to happen:

We’re not going to invest $2.5 million dollars in this building and have a building deteriorating right next door, in front of it. Why would anyone want to come here?

(snip)

One of the winners in this thing if we walk away from it – not to be coy about it – is the prostitutes and the drug dealers who ply their trade behind that building.

(snip)

If (Cataract) becomes a landmark nobody can touch that building without government approval.

The public relations on this project has been pretty aggressive and effective. Genesee has the mayor and city council president on its side. Today it also brought out neighbors who support the project. More importantly, the idea of a brew pub and visitors center is very, very popular.

But here’s where the message falters. Lozyniak said his comments today didn’t amount to a threat to pull the project.

Threatening is not the right word…We want to do this. We want to do this really badly. If we’re going to spend the next year in court or the next two years in court, then we’ve got much better opportunities throughout our whole company to invest and we’ll put our resources there.

Among the definitions of threat is “To give signs or warning of; portend” or “an indication of something impending.”

What do you think his statements mean?

- The Cataract Building clearly needs millions of dollars of work and no one knows who would pay. Preservationists aren’t deterred, saying there are developers and programs to help problem cases.

They point to the building at University and Atlantic. Check out the before and after. I have a feeling that was a much smaller project, but I can see their point.

Posted in Business, News | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

10 Responses to Full Court Press on Cataract

  1. This is not an either / or situation. EVERYONE wants to see a visitor center built. High Falls NEEDS it and the Brewery clearly wants it. It’s just that some people want to make sure important parts of Rochester History are not lost in the efforts to get the Visitor Center.

    RE: The PR from the brewery recently, I would suspect that the same arguments were made to tear down the Claude Bragdon Train Station back in the day, and the city ultimately agreed. Now we have no train station (not one to speak of)… Seems to me a compromise is the right answer so everyone is happy (and the building is still standing).

  2. March 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm Eduardo Ricardo responds:

    You can’t blame the world’s oldest profession to take place in the back of one the oldest buildings, can you?

  3. March 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm Douglas A. Fisher responds:

    The “planned visitors center and brew pub” is a laudable project that could well stand on its own. Saving the neighboring significant landmark would in no way impede the success of such a project. The brewery owners make a false linkage.

    In fact, the sizeable groundswell of support for saving the landmark building simply underscores the attraction and iconic value of that structure that seems to be completely missed by the people whose specialty is to make beer.

  4. March 9, 2012 at 1:33 am Lynn E responds:

    I always kind of liked that building but these brewers are trying to do something in a neighborhood and a city that looks pretty bad. They could easily decide to throw in the towel and forget it.

  5. Rachel – Two things I’d love for you to cover:

    1) I believe there were several offers to buy this building – thereby relieving the brewery of any obligation for clean-up costs. Why is this not more highly discussed? It seems like the perfect solution.

    2) What REALLY is the cost difference between tearing this historical building down and stabilizing it? This is being painted as an either / or situation – but I doubt it is.

    Thx

  6. Great points in this post. This is absolutely not an issue of either/or. It’s unfortunate this is how the Brewery is spinning it. They are not going to pull the plug on the project. They are already too invested, not only with the planning phase but they’ve already begun work on the visitor center building. They are beating the war drums to impose influence over the Planning Commission’s decision later this month. It is crucial for the community to show support, not only for the visitor center, but for the potential redevelopment of BOTH of these buildings and what COULD become Rochester’s Brewery Square (instead of a parking lot).

    Here’s one easy way—send an email… http://bit.ly/w59MqJ

    • brewery employee here. an article about the “offers” that is often cited by preservationists is here: http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/news/blog/2012/03/About-those-Cataract-building-offers/

      please show your support by signing the petition to tear down the building, thanks!

      http://www.change.org/petitions/division-of-zoning-city-hall-room-125b-allow-genesee-brewery-to-tear-down-13-cataract-street

      • AG, that article in the City Newspaper was based on misinformation from your man Minunni. Costanza didn’t want to buy the building so they could tear it down. They wanted to add to the building so they could maximize the number of units. Interesting that the author didn’t interview anyone from Costanza or the other offers.

        Maybe you can answer why the Brewery had the building on the market at all? After six months on the market all of a sudden they decide it must be torn down? How’s that work? I’ve seen houses in Pittsford on the market for longer than that.

        FYI, Here’s a sampling of local buildings that were once falling in on themselves and nearly demolished… Old City Hall, Flatiron, Gorsline Building, Perry Machine Building, Parazin Building, Mills II at High Falls, Station 55… give the building back to the people so they can do something with it. You can park your car in the lot across the street.

  7. First, congrats on your new website, Rachel (it’s great). Secondly, I am always amazed at left-wing ‘do-gooders’ (a.k.a. urban historic preservationists) who want to save every last alleged historic building—on someone elses dime. If those who file court injunctions to stop reasonable development want to save these types of failing structures, maybe they should put up their own money, or indeed, shut up. Thank you.

  8. Hi Chris. You have some cool stuff on your site. I especially like the canal project analysis and the picture of light rail.

    The preservationists I’ve talked to about this are VERY aware that there is no private money currently. There were two offers to buy the building last year, but the Brewery rejected them (not sure why). The preservationists are, contrary to your characterization, scrambling to find private money for the project. They know, as you do as well, if that money does not arrive – then the right decision is to get out of the way. And many of them do, in fact, raise money themselves (as well as volunteer time) when it comes to these projects.

    You’ve got a strong argument on your side on this issue. I would tone down the name-calling because it really only undermines your credibility.

    Keep up the good work on your site.

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