Special Citation: Stantec Consulting Services

The Landmark Society’s 2014 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 16 at 3:00 p.m. in Rochester’s historic City Hall, the spectacular Richardsonian Romanesque landmark located downtown at 30 Church Street. The Awards are given each year to individuals and organizations in our nine-county area who have made outstanding efforts in the preservation of their homes, historic properties, and landscapes. In anticipation of the upcoming Awards Ceremony we will be featuring some of this year’s award winners.

A Special Citation provides recognition for projects that do not fit into other categories or recognizes outstanding individual or group accomplishments in the field of historic preservation.

Stantec Consulting Services
61 Commercial Street, city of Rochester

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Image courtesy of Stantec Consulting Services

This historic c. 1890 industrial building was originally designed as the power house for the Rochester Railway Company. At  the facility – one of the first of its kind – electricity was generated by harnessing the power of the Genesee River as it was diverted through Brown’s Race. By the late 20th century, the building became a storage space, manufacturing facility, then two short-lived entertainment venues.

Norry Management Company acquired the building in 2006, and together with Stantec Consulting Services, they rehabilitated this signature property using the Federal and State Investment Tax Credit program available for the renovation of income-producing buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Working with the NYS Office of Historic Preservation and the Rochester Preservation Board, the principles created a project that restored historic details, but also created dramatic new work spaces in the spacious interior. Window openings, long in-filled with brick, were reactivated, allowing daylighting throughout the interior. The design also included sustainable technologies and practices which earned LEED Certified status.

Barber Conable Award: The Academy Building

The Landmark Society’s 2014 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 16 at 3:00 p.m. in Rochester’s historic City Hall, the spectacular Richardsonian Romanesque landmark located downtown at 30 Church Street. The Awards are given each year to individuals and organizations in our nine-county area who have made outstanding efforts in the preservation of their homes, historic properties, and landscapes. In anticipation of the upcoming Awards Ceremony we will be featuring some of this year’s award winners.

The Barber Conable Award recognizes a large-scale rehabilitation of an historic building in our region completed within the past two years. This includes buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places and projects utilizing the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program.

The Academy Building:
13 South Fitzhugh Street, City of Rochester

The Academy Building                                                                           Photo by Richard Margolis

 

This year’s recipient of our major preservation award is the Academy Building. Erected in 1873 as the city’s first public high school, this remarkable High Victorian Gothic building was designed by renowned Rochester architect Andrew Jackson Warner and is unique in the region. Its sophisticated features, polychrome building materials, and picturesque design are hallmarks of this distinctive style. Long the headquarters of the Rochester Board of Education and later rehabilitated into commercial offices in the late 1970s, this signature building has been vacant and seeking a new owner in recent years.

The challenging project returned the building to a new use as 21 loft-style apartments and retail space. Listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, the building was rehabilitated using the Federal Investment Tax Credit program and design review by the NYS Office of Historic Preservation. This $7,000,000 project was completed by owner and developer George Traikos, with project architect Blake Held and consulting services by Bero Architecture, PLLC.

Button Lofts near completion

The Landmark Society’s Wayne Goodman recently got a sneak peek at two exciting rehab projects being completed by developer DHD Ventures–the adaptive use of the National Clothing Company building on Main Street into a Hilton Garden Inn and the Button Lofts project at Rutgers and Monroe Ave. Set to open in November, the Button Lofts project is nearing completion and we couldn’t be more excited! As you’ll see in the before and after photos below, this building has truly transformed–from an empty hulk of a building with blocked-in windows to a vibrant and functional space. Yet another preservation success story in the ongoing revitalization of the city we call home!

Take a look at the pictures below and, if you want to see more, check out one of the Button Lofts open houses on Saturdays. Follow the Button Lofts & Townhomes on Facebook for more photos and info.

Here’s the former Shantz Button Factory pre-rehab, just a little over a year ago:

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And here it is brought back to its former glory. What a difference some nice windows and a fresh coat of paint make! Notice the new sign that went up this past weekend.

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Here’s a view of the rear elevation from Rutgers St.:

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The new lofts are lit by enormous windows with amazing, panoramic views of Rochester.

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Just look at the size of this window opening:

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Each unit is unique but, in addition to the eye-popping views, they all have that industrial feel to them (with high ceilings, exposed ductwork, large wooden beamsposts, exposed beams and brick) that make adapted industrial spaces so appealing.

Ummm, a bathtub in front of these windows? With a view of Pinnacle Hill? Yes, please.

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In keeping with the bath theme, here’s a shower with subway tile and an industrial steel window. Who couldn’t use more natural light in the shower?

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This is one of the (partially finished) unique spaces created out of the one-story loading docks on the rear of the factory building. They feature multi-level lofted spaces.

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Curious about the Button Lofts name? This building and the two smaller brick buildings around it were built between 1903 and 1920 by Moses B. Shantz as a button factory complex. The Shantz Button Factory is one of only two surviving early twentieth century button manufacturing plants in Rochester.

Kudos to the project architect, Peter Wehner, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate and Senior Project Architect for Passero Associates (whose offices also happen to be in a superb adaptive use project)!

Progress at the Clarendon Stone Store

It was just about a year ago that the Town of Clarendon officially handed the keys to the 1836 Clarendon Stone Store over to its new owners, Joe and Sue Fertitta. (The Landmark Society partnered with the Town and local preservation advocates to market and sell the vacant property.) Since then, the Fertitta’s have been hard at work bringing this property back to its former glory.

Work on the interior (which had to be gutted and required new electric, plumbing and HVAC) is moving along. Even more exciting though for those who drive through this busy intersection is the progress on the exterior. The porch has been rebuilt to match its historic appearance; the front windows and door have been reconfigured to bring back the look of a storefront; and, as you can see below, Joe has been working on repairing and painting the trim. We can’t wait to see the final result!

Clarendon Joe painting store

Town Historian, Melissa Ierlan, also worked with a local artist to recreate a historic sign that historic photos show once hung above the Store’s porch. The sign was painted and donated by local artist Carol Culhane. Joe and Sue plan to hang it right where it used to be.

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Our hats go off to the Fertitta’s and all of the dedicated preservationists in Clarendon who have worked so hard to make this success a reality!

 

At Risk Again: 660 W Main

Attend the Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing
Thursday, July 17
Arrive by 11:30-12 p.m.
(This is the last item on the agenda, case #12. Case 8 will begin at 11:30 a.m.)
City Hall – 3rd floor, City Council Chambers
View the ZBA Agenda

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photo courtesy Mike Governale, Rochester Subway

Background

The former church building at 660 West Main Street in the city of Rochester was constructed c.1870 and was originally home to the Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 1914, it became the home of the Liederkranz Club who occupied it until about 1974. Most recently, the church was owned and used by another religious congregation. The congregation sold the property in 2011 and it has sat vacant and largely unmaintained since that time. Under the City of Rochester’s Zoning Code, 660 West Main is a Designated Building of Historic Value (DBHV).

City Code prohibits the demolition of a DBHV, however, property owners can apply for a variance from the code to allow demolition. The Zoning Board of Appeals considers such applications.

In November, 2012, the owner applied for a variance to demolish this DBHV, proposing to replace it with generic new construction (a sideways strip mall) that would house a Dollar General. The owner also argued that the building should not be on the DBHV list. The ZBA denied the application for a variance and concurred with our opinion that there was no reason to remove the building from the DBHV list.

As of summer 2014, the owner has filed another application for demolition and proposes to replace the historic building with a new single story commercial building (click on the links below to see renderings of the proposed new construction). Now, the new 17,922 square foot building will supposedly house a full line food store.

Our Position

The Landmark Society maintains the same position that we held in 2012 when the ZBA last considered a proposal to demolish this protected historic structure. We support the many residents and property owners in the immediate area of the church who oppose demolition. Here’s why (read our complete comments as submitted to the Zoning Board on November, 2012 here):

  1. Significance as a Designated Building of Historic Value
    Recognizing the historic, cultural, and architectural significance, as well as its importance to the West Main streetscape, the City of Rochester’s Zoning Code has already established that the building can not and should not be demolished. The property owner fails to meet any of the six criteria outlined in Section 120-195 of the City Code that would allow for demolition of a DBHV.
  2. Community Impact & Streetscape
    Demolition and replacement with a building of far inferior quality and design would be a detriment to the streetscape and the surrounding community, particularly in light of ongoing and successful revitalization efforts that are occurring on either side of 660 W. Main. Millions of private and public dollars have been invested in the rehab of historic buildings and in sensitive modern infill just a block away. With growing interest in downtown and walkable urban neighborhoods, it is simply a matter of time before investment and demand spread to this section of West Main.
  3. Building Condition
    Contrary to the reports submitted by the property owner, the building is structurally sound and capable of being adapted to a new use. In 2013, The Landmark Society funded a report by a structural engineer that confirmed the building is indeed structurally sound. Click here to read it.
  4. Redevelopment & Adaptive Use Potential
    While a significant rehabilitation is needed, there is no reason the building could not be adapted to a new use. Placing a new use inside an existing historic building that relates to the streetscape and surrounding buildings would serve the city of Rochester much better than a generic new building. Historic church buildings throughout the country have been adapted to a variety of uses, including bars, restaurants, housing, and event space. Some have even been adapted to house corporate retailers such as pharmacies. The owner has not fully explored reuse potential.

While we acknowledge that not every historic building can or should be saved, we believe that in the case of 660 W. Main, the condition of the building, the concerns of the neighborhood, and the successful revitalization occurring just east of this property, make reuse a realistic option that merits further consideration.

What can you do?

  • Attend the Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing
    Thursday, July17
    Arrive by 11:30-12 p.m.
    (This is the last item on the agenda, case #12. Case 8 will begin at 11:30.)
    City Hall – 3rd floor, City Council Chambers
  • Submit written comments by July 16:
    Jill Symonds, City of Rochester, Bureau of Planning & Zoning, 30 Church Street, Room 125B, Rochester, NY 14612
    or Jill.Symonds@CityofRochester.gov

Statewide Preservation Conference a rousing success!

We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make the New York Statewide Preservation Conference such an incredible success! Attendees joined us, and our Conference Partners, the Preservation League of New York State, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, and AIA Rochester in filling in the blank with definitions of preservation going beyond the traditional terminology throughout many different events and sessions. The conference was a wonderful mix of professionals, grassroots community activists, students and preservation enthusiasts.

Putting together the conference is a major undertaking for our office, with the entire staff involved. We all had different levels of involvement, experiences and tasks while at the conference so we wanted to gather some reflections on the weekend from a few staff members.

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Larry Francer with one of our FILL IN THE BLANK name tags encouraging attendees to write their definition of preservation.

The energy of the vibrant East End combined with the conference keynotes, sessions and parties was infectious.  The attendees glowed as they, “Filled in the Blank.”  Preservation is a joyous part of our lives.
-Larry Francer, Associate Director of Preservation

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“Sneaky Preservation” speaker, Dana Saylor-Furman

I was so excited to see such a great number of preservation colleagues and grassroots preservationists from across the state and western New York! We had great presenters, great topics, generous sponsors, and enthusiastic attendees. Like any preservation success story, the people and the place combined to create a dynamic atmosphere, full of new ideas, thoughtful debate, and even a few provocative calls to action. From sneaky preservation to rust belt revitalization; opera houses to education; urban neighborhoods to small towns—we covered it all. The range of topics really demonstrated the many benefits of preservation and the diverse audiences and communities it can serve.

It was truly an honor to have Donovan Rypkema as our keynote speaker and Ed McMahon as our Saturday Breakfast Speaker. If you consider yourself a preservationist, a planner, a community advocate and you haven’t heard what they have to say, I encourage you to start googling. If nothing else, you’ll be entertained.

I came away from the conference reinvigorated and with a renewed commitment to challenge commonly held assumptions and to push myself to constantly seek new preservation strategies.
-Caitlin Meives, Preservation Planner

Saturday speaker, Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute, at the newly remodeled East Ave Inn & Suites.

Saturday speaker, Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute, at the newly remodeled East Ave Inn & Suites.

It didn’t matter that they had been going since 7:30 or 8 a.m. That they had been to keynotes, presentations, vendor tables, etc.  By all rights they should have been exhausted.  But they stood and talked and talked with each other, with presenters, with staff. You could feel the energy buzzing off them, generated by their conference experience. It was like no one wanted to leave!
-Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Our friends from ReHouse, one of the many vendor tables set up at The Little Theatre.

Our friends from ReHouse, one of the many vendor tables set up at The Little Theatre.

It was an incredible joy to spend my entire day working for the Landmark Society; surrounded by preservationists, while catching sessions full of engaging content & interesting perspectives. We were excited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Conference social media presence and hashtag, so we wanted to try our hand. Leading up to, and throughout our conference we used the hashtag #NYPresConf on Facebook and Twitter. Check it out for more conference content- especially from speakers and attendees who were awesome posting throughout the weekend! During the Conference I decided what better day than today to create a Landmark Society Instagram, so follow us there too as we grow the account. It was a fun, new challenge for me to post as “live” as possible to our various social media outlets during sessions and events-I hope you enjoyed the updates. Let’s have even more content for next year’s #NYPresConf!

I want to reiterate Caitlin regarding our keynote and Saturday speaker, they were amazing! I especially enjoyed Ed McMahon’s talk Saturday morning and live tweeted many of his concepts with the #NYPresConf hashtag-check it out for some inspiring one-liners today.
-Anika Lindquist, Office & IT Associate

Our first Instagram photo of our Conference HQ, The Little Theatre in Downtown Rochester.

Our first Instagram photo of our Conference HQ, The Little Theatre in Downtown Rochester.

Working at Stone-Tolan Historic Site, I could not attend most of the conference. I did however attend one session on Friday morning that I enjoyed very much. I observed many people engaged in animated conversations, clearly enjoying the venue. It was a great idea to partner with The Little Theater and WXXI for our annual preservation conference.
- Beverly Gibson, Horticulturist

Thank you to all of the speakers, vendors and attendees who spent time with us for the 2014 Preservation Conference! Our enormous gratitude to our Title Sponsors Rochester Colonial and Bergmann Associates, the generous support provided by The Rochester Area Community Foundation and Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, as well as all of the additional conference sponsors , without the support of all of these businesses and organizations this incredible event might not happen.

Partners-Sponsors

See you next year!

 

$3.6M awarded for Eastman Dental Dispensary redevelopment

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

Today Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Home Leasing LLC will receive $3.6 million in funding provided by New York State Homes & Community Renewal for redevelopment of the Eastman Dental Dispensary in Rochester! The project will transform this State and National Register of Historic Places listed property into mixed-income and affordable housing units.
>>Click here for the full press release of the funding announcement 

Five to Revive Eastman

We are grateful and thrilled with this news, as the Dental Dispensary was one of our 2013 Five to Revive properties. We can’t wait to see this building restored to its former glory!

>>Click here to learn more about the Eastman Dental Dispensary

Reconnect Rochester wants to know: what could you do with a bus shelter?

Photo Courtesy Rick Urwin

Following the completion of the new RTS Transit Center, the bus shelters along Main Street will no longer be needed to provide shelter for passengers, and these retro beauties could be scraped. But we, citizens of Rochester, could change their fate!

Photo Courtesy Sharon Drummond

Reconnect Rochester has partnered with RGRTA and the City to solicit serious proposals for new uses for the former shelters;

Whatever your idea, write it up, include a drawing or two, and send it to info@reconnectrochester.org along with your contact information and a brief explanation.

Proposals should include:
• your name(s)
• your business or organization name
• contact information
• which shelter(s) you would like to use
• what purpose you would use the shelter for
• when you could start using it
• the length of time you’d use it for
• any other relevant details
• and any illustrations or drawings that might help explain your idea

Proposals will be reviewed by the City and then a meeting will be set up to discuss.

Even if you lack in the artistic department, they want your written idea anyway!

Read more about the shelters and see some ideas on Reconnect Rochester.

Agreeing with many of the comments already posted, a coffee kiosk could be an excellent new use. Here’s an inspiration from my vacation in Burlington, VT last summer.

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This is such an exciting project to get the community inovlved in place making decisions, what would you do with a shelter?

Submit your ideas to info@reconnectrochester.org now. We can’t wait to see what Rochester comes up with!

Bucolic Historic Site in Bethany Now on the Market!

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The former Bethany Town Hall is located in a bucolic rural setting in Genesee County. This location offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle with easy access to urban centers. It’s just 15 minutes to Batavia or LeRoy and 45 minutes from Rochester or Buffalo.

Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Amrhein

Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Amrhein

This 1832 Greek Revival is solidly built and features loads of historic details and charm. Hardwood floors, original wood doors, wainscoting, and light fixtures throughout. Approximately 5,000 square feet on two floors includes plenty of open space—perfect for a loft style residence or artist’s studio. Spaces include meeting hall, restrooms and kitchen on first floor and auditorium, stage, dressing rooms and offices on second floor.

The Old Bethany Town Hall has been the center of community life for generations. It has functioned as a church, an academy, the Town Hall, and a grange hall. The history and character of this building can be yours!

Landmark Society staff are working with the Town of Bethany to finalize details
on the marketing of this property. Please stay tuned for more information coming
soon. In the meantime, contact Caitlin Meives with inquiries.

 

Best of 2013: Preservation in WNY

It’s that time of year, when pundits, news outlets, and TV shows look back on the year in review, when  Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with best-of lists. So why not jump on the bandwagon? Here’s our look back at 2013 with a highlight of 13 preservation successes.

1. Walk the Walk reaches over 1600 students

With a new specialized Rochester African-American History Rap program for 2nd graders, Walk the Walk this year reached a record-setting number of children–over 1600 students plus over 200 teachers and chaperones.

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2. Preservation Conference

Our Preservation Conference in the village of Brockport was a roaring success with new speakers, timely topics and nearly 200 community advocates, municipal leaders, and preservation professionals in attendance.IMG_20130420_095329_505

3. Launched Five to Revive program

In May, we announced our inaugural Five to Revive list, with Mayor Thomas Richards, County Executive Maggie Brooks, and Senator Joe Robach (among others) in attendance. Since then, we have been working with stakeholders to find solutions to move these properties forward towards revitalization. Two of the properties have rehabilitation plans in the works.

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Five to Revive press conference held in May, 2013 at the Pulaski Library. [Photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

4. Free Academy

2013 saw the completion of the rehabilitation of the Free Academy at 13 S. Fitzhugh St. in Rochester. One of downtown’s most recognizable buildings, the Free Academy had long been vacant. The award-winnng rehab project was completed by developers George and Katia Traikos.

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5. Inside Downtown Tour

Our Inside Downtown Tour in the Cascade District sold out. Nearly 2000 ticket holders toured rehabbed historic buildings in a downtown Rochester that is experiencing an exciting revitalization. The Tour showcased pivotal and award-winning adaptive reuses, including Bridge Square, the mid-century modern 44 Exchange, the Free Academy, and modern infill townhouses on Plymouth Ave.

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6. Stone-Tolan Historic Site

Due to the generosity of the Davenport-Hatch Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation, this summer we were able to bring in some of the finest craftsmen in the region to bring this spectacular property back to its former glory.  Master carpenters Matt Sweger and Eric Cady rebuilt custom wooden storm windows, repaired trim, rebuilt animal pens and the wooden well as well as completed repairs on the historic barn. Tim McGrath and his meticulous crew of painters painted not only the house and barn but also the majestic wooden fence that encloses the heirloom apple orchard and runs the length of the property.

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Stone-Tolan Historic Site. Photo courtesy Richard Margolis.

7. Clarendon Stone Store

After a year and a half of cooperative marketing efforts and preservation advocacy with the Town of Clarendon, the Clarendon Stone Store was sold (for $1!) to new owners who have already begun rehabbing this iconic 1836 landmark. We can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

Town Supervisor Richard Moy, right, presented the keys of the Clarendon Stone Stone to Sue and Joe Fertitta on Friday. The couple also was presented a souvenir T-Shirt from the town’s bicentennial. An image of the store is on the back of the shirt. Photo courtesy OrleansHub.com.

8. Over $15,000 in grant money

In the second year of the Preservation Grant Fund program, we provided $15,100 to help kickstart rehab projects for at-risk properties throughout the region. Grant recipients included: the Sampson Theatre in Penn Yan, Genesee Baptist Church in Rochester, Pratt Opera Theater in Albion, Church of God and Saints in Christ (former Leopold St. Shul) in Rochester, Pulaski Library in Rochester, Valentown Hall in Victor, Kingston Hotel in Canaseraga, and College Hall at the Elim Bible Institute in Lima.

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Pratt Opera Theater in Albion.

9. 660 W Main

Working with neighborhood residents, we advocated for the preservation and reuse of this vacant historic church in Rochester. Claiming that the building was a hazard and unfit for rehabilitation, in 2012, the owner proposed replacing the historic building with a new Dollar General store. A structural engineer’s report, funded by a Landmark Society grant, determined that the building was structurally sound. Although the ultimate fate of 660 W Main still remains uncertain, the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied the owner’s application for a variance to demolish the building.

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10. Ghost Walk’s 20th Anniversary

The award-winning Landmark Society Ghost Walk reached its 20th anniversary of sharing Rochester’s architecture and historic in a dramatic, spooky format.

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11. 19th Ward project begins

Working closely with the 19th Ward Community Association, we began a project to create four National Register Historic Districts in the 19th Ward neighborhood. National Register listing will allow homeowners to qualify for the NYS historic homeowner rehab tax credits, helping strengthen ongoing revitalization efforts in the neighborhood. To help complete this project, The Landmark Society and the 19th Ward Community Association were awarded generous grant funding from the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Preservation League of New York State, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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12. Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Along with about 300 of our closest friends (members, donors and supporters), in November we celebrated 75 years of past accomplishments and the success of our new initiatives.

Over 300 members and supporters attended the Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Over 300 members and supporters attended the Diamond Jubilee Celebration

13. 75th Anniversary Campaign

At our Diamond Jubilee Celebration, we announced the successful completion of our 75th Anniversary fundraising campaign. Thanks to our many generous supporters we surpassed our goal, raising $555,000 to fund new initiatives and re-invigorate existing programs.

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