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c. 1916-1925

Links of the Day:

– It’s decision day for 13 Cataract St. There will be a hearing tonight. No matter what happens, the city’s process to review proposals to demolish historic buildings will likely be revised. This debate has revealed a disjointed process and a limited role of the preservation board.

These cases will continue to come up. The Democrat and Chronicle‘s Brian Sharp has a great example. A developer wants to tear down a historic church on W. Main St. to put up a Dollar General. He compares his situation to the brewery and delivers the best quote of the day:

“Here they approved the one for the brewery,” (Marvin) Maye said. “I think mine is kind of similar, but I don’t have the kind of jack the brewery has got.”

The Hojack Swing Bridge, High Falls smokestack, 13 Cataract and Midtown Plaza are all examples of structures with historic value either in danger or torn down. The City School District’s modernization plan could have some preservationists raising eyebrows.

The Rochester Subway blog, an advocate for preservation, has been highlighting “eyesores” saved from the wrecking ball.

Rochester has a sad history of blowing up buildings, such as the RKO Palace. It’s a good idea to put a better process in place. But the city has to figure out what kind of outcome it wants.

– Is the downtown rental housing market too expensive? A Democrat and Chronicle blogger says he’s priced out. He questions why anyone would want to live downtown when there’s “nothing there.”

People want to live downtown for unique spaces, convenience and an urban environment. Landlords charge what people will pay. Apparently, there is something downtown people want.

– Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero says kids should never be left alone in a car. His office arrested a couple claiming they left their 3-year-old alone in a Best Buy lot for 5 minutes. Deputies claim it was 45 minutes. That’s a significant difference.

The Free Range Kids blog has the tale of a mom who let her young kids wait in the car. The incident is now ruining her life.

– We now know why Mike Green wasn’t appointed to the top job at a state criminal justice agency. The governor was getting around salary rules.

– This is everything you would want to know about Gannett buyouts across the country.

8 Responses to Preservation Debate Will Continue

  1. April 4, 2012 at 8:45 am Reggie Henderson responds:

    Competing goals of progress versus preservation sound hard to balance. I guess there should be some sort of budget for the public to buy up and renovate structures that no one in private industry thinks would be profitable. Of course that needs to be balanced with other expenses, like educating children. Tough choices. But just declaring thing privately owned to be public property puts a negative spin on investing in Rochester, so choices should be made carefully. That said, the Hojack Swing Bridge is a big piece of garbage ruining the mouth of the Genesee. I asked my Dad about that years ago and he said it must be too expensive to get rid of.

    • April 4, 2012 at 9:27 am ben Campanelli responds:

      I had a 1952 hip-roof Jablonsky ranch with true cut wooden frame, slat board roof, plastered walls and legderock facade. They don’t make them like that anymore. Was it a preservation candidate?

      No, not yet anyway. Heard at a City Hall meeting considering the creating of the Corn Hill Preservation Distric somewhere back in mid-Century:

      City develoment taffer: So, just what do the preservationists want now?

      Big Boss: More.

  2. April 4, 2012 at 8:51 am Jim Webster responds:

    Thanks to Bob Matthews for setting the record straight this morning. No one forced him out, it was his decision. As he said, maybe he was losing something off his fastball. And he will be missed.
    But all this negativity and finger pointing at the D&C is, to me, indicative of an in-your-face culture that is becoming all too pervasive in our society and especially our politics.

    • April 4, 2012 at 9:35 am Rachel responds:

      Well, I think it is totally legitimate to criticize the paper’s decline of staff and content. Buyouts are a part of that. But glad Matthews was not mistreated.

  3. D&C blogger is an idiot. Surprise, surprise. If he wants to live Downtown, there are great and much cheap options that aren’t in a cookie-cutter apartment building.

  4. Indeed, that D&C blogger was looking at stupidly expensive apartments. Those are twice the price of other apartments nearby, or in other neighborhoods. Heck, he could get a giant loft apartment in the village gate for the $1,300 that 1 bedroom was going to cost him. Or, he could get a sane 1 bedroom for ~600-700

  5. April 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm Douglas A. Fisher responds:

    Landmark status for New York City’s Grand Central Station was contested in the 1970s by the Penn Central Railroad, owners of the station. The railroad argued that they owned the building and who was the City to tell them what to do.

    The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that, indeed, the public had a valid right to designate that landmark status. The value of the structure was created only partially by the owner. A substantial component of the value was all the municipal investment in infrastructure, etc., which made that location valuable.

    In Rochester, we have a $9,000,000 municipal investment directly in the brewery corporation and its property, by virtue of municipal forgiveness of taxes and water charges, which induced the present owner to purchase the brewery and its property, including 13 Cataract Street.

    But for this City of Rochester investment, the brewery would have had no buyers for ANY of its property at anything other than a nominal value.

    Those who assert that the City has no business designating landmark protection for the historic building overlook this major dollar basis.

    Not only is there a RIGHT by the City to designate landmark status. Here, there is no dichotomy between preservation and progress.

    The brewery continues to steamroller over the fact that MORE progress will occur WITH preservation (and its historic preservation tax credits) than would happen without the preservation approach, as numerous public hearing speakers testify.

  6. April 5, 2012 at 3:26 am Douglas A. Fisher responds:

    Many of us appreciated the castellated Romanesque building at 13 Cataract Street for many years and always assumed that the brewery also appreciated it, which, of course, is why the Genesee Brewery bought it ~25 years ago. Only when current management announced plans last year to demolish this treasure did many realize that protective action was clearly needed.

    The Rochester Preservation Board, which looked at historic and architectural significance, strongly and unanimously voted for landmark status for this unique 1889 brewery structure.

    The Planning Commission looked at brewery management’s position that the brewpub and visitor center would not happen without demolition of the landmark, concluded that the brewpub and visitor center were needed, and that therefore the landmark must fall. Based upon comments by Planning Commissioners prior to their vote, it appears that the Planning Commission would have voted to uphold the landmark status had not brewery management been so obstinate in requiring demolition.

    In fact, the brewery had already received approval for the brewpub and visitor center, and could have proceeded on those with the landmark building remaining there. The brewery simply required the demolition, hired a high-powered public relations firm to engineer opinion-maker support and succeeded in disingenuously persuading many that this was an either/or proposition.

    The New York City private equity group owning this landmark plans to sell it all in a few years anyway, and seemingly wanted to clear away any physical heritage that might interfere with their short-term vision of re-sale profit.

    We could have had both the brewpub / visitor center AND the landmark building. Not too far into the future, we may well have neither.

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