The Pike Company unveiled the design for the Windstream offices on Monday. Pike will spend $19 million (with some taxpayer help) to rehab what remains of the Seneca Building.
The response to the renderings was a collective shrug.
Architect Roger Brown of the Rochester Regional Community Design Center said, “It’s a nice Rochester building. It’s very conservative. It meets a lot of the urban design requirements, such as transparency, detail and the material. It’s got a little bit of flair with the entranceway.”
But Brown said Rochester would be “missing the boat” if the site was filled up with similar buildings.
“My disappointment is that it’s not taller. The downtown zoning code says that buildings in that area should be five stories or more in height, at least that’s my interpretation. I think buildings in that location should have more of a presence.”
The building is what it is for one reason – money. PAETEC scaled down its planned headquarters several times. We’re lucky anything is happening at the site at all. Pike and Windstream deserve major kudos for taking the plunge. But like Brown, I’d hate to see the entire site filled up with run-of-the-mill buildings.
There’s still time for the “wow” to surface. Midtown Tower could end up being quite beautiful. If all goes as planned, it will bring density, housing and retail.
This is a tremendous opportunity to reshape downtown. Midtown Plaza was a wall that obstructed views and created an artificial barrier between Main Street and the East End. Tearing down Midtown Plaza clearly opened up downtown. I hope the city proceeds very carefully on the development of the remaining parcels.
The next 50 years of downtown are at stake.