Inside Downtown Tour 2014

View from the Top!
East Avenue and East Main Street
Proudly sponsored by Winn Development

The Inside Downtown Tour highlights urban environments where folks are creating exciting spaces to live and work. We visit re-purposed spaces, renovated homes, lovingly preserved places and newly built sites that are designed with sensitivity to the overall built environment. Basically, we get you “in” on the latest urban living trends.

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street.The Inside Downtown Tour will give you the “View from the Top” as penthouses and rooftops are open for the 2014 ticket holders. It’s all part of the effort to showcase urban living and working in re-purposed buildings – and to have a great time doing so!

Why are we calling it “View from the Top?” There are an extraordinary number of penthouses opening for us, plus the view from the top of One East Avenue is unequaled at any other site. You’ll have all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) at your feet.


TICKET PRICE :
HOW TO RECEIVE TICKETS :
Quantity:  

Click here for the #insidedowntown tour page

Inside Downtown Tour 2014

View from the Top!
East Avenue and East Main Street
Proudly sponsored by Winn Development

The Inside Downtown Tour highlights urban environments where folks are creating exciting spaces to live and work. We visit re-purposed spaces, renovated homes, lovingly preserved places and newly built sites that are designed with sensitivity to the overall built environment. Basically, we get you “in” on the latest urban living trends.

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street.The Inside Downtown Tour will give you the “View from the Top” as penthouses and rooftops are open for the 2014 ticket holders. It’s all part of the effort to showcase urban living and working in re-purposed buildings – and to have a great time doing so!

Why are we calling it “View from the Top?” There are an extraordinary number of penthouses opening for us, plus the view from the top of One East Avenue is unequaled at any other site. You’ll have all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) at your feet.


TICKET PRICE :
HOW TO RECEIVE TICKETS :
Quantity:  

Click here for the #insidedowntown tour page

 

Inside Downtown Tour Outside Attractions

Many people think of downtown as a central business district belted by the Inner Loop, but Rochester’s Center City is actually a collection of mixed-use neighborhoods, each with their own distinct character.  It may also be surprising to some that downtown is sprinkled with green spaces ranging in scale from large parks to intimate gardens.

Christ Church Park high res 1

This year’s Inside Downtown Tour will offer a “View from the Top”, as many of the featured sites offer panoramic views from lofty heights.  This unique opportunity allows not only a chance to take in the striking downtown skyline from a unique perspective, but also highlights how green our city is, with its tree lined avenues radiating out from the central core, and lush parklands dotting the landscape beyond.  There are several unique green spaces not to be missed during this year’s tour, which spans multiple downtown neighborhoods.

Starting at Tour Headquarters, which this year will be located at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, take in the beautiful corner park located next door and in front of Christ Church.  This beautiful neighborhood garden is owned and maintained by the church, and is a popular gathering spot in the East End neighborhood.  Surrounded by borders of flowering shrubs, perennials and seasonal annuals, the garden is an oasis in the middle of a busy downtown neighborhood.  Be sure to take in the majestic honey locust tree which is over 100 years old.

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Heading down East Avenue to where it intersects with Main Street the iconic Liberty Pole anchors the vista, and serves as the centerpiece of Liberty Pole Plaza.  Designed by local architect James H. Johnson in 1965, the steel sculpture rises 198 feet high and sits on the site of a wooden liberty pole that was originally erected in 1846.  The plaza provides a place of gathering and is surrounded by three iconic buildings, all of which are on this year’s tour: The Sibley Building, the Temple Building and the Bank of America Building.

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Moving west down Main Street toward the entrance to the Sibley Building, take a moment to check out the construction progress at the Midtown site.  The superblock that contained Midtown Plaza has been subdivided into smaller parcels, allowing much of the historic street grid to be reconstructed.  At the center of the project, a new public open space is emerging which will be called Midtown Commons.  The space includes areas of hardscape, open lawn, trees, ornamental plantings and decorative lighting.  Midtown Commons is anchored on its north side by the Windstream Building, and to the south construction is underway on transforming Midtown Tower into a vibrant mixed-use building (look for it on a future inside Downtown Tour).

MidtownCommon_resized

Walking up Franklin Street from the Liberty Pole Plaza and Sibley Building, the spire of the former St. Joseph’s Church comes into view, now the centerpiece of St. Joseph’s Park which is owned and maintained by the Landmark Society.  St. Joseph’s Church, the oldest Catholic church in Rochester, was ravaged by fire in 1978 which gutted the building, but spared the front façade and iconic combination bell/clock tower.  The ruined structure was preserved and transformed into a unique urban park which highlights the impressive masonry construction of the original building.  The Landmark Society has recently completed repairs to the structure, and improvements to its landscape in an effort to make this unique urban park more accessible to the public.

photo

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Anthony Bellomo, IDT chair and downtown resident.

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Inside Downtown Tour – Unique Experiences?

view of east ave from 1 East ave_resized

Is the word “unique” overused? Every restaurant, every attraction, every app loves to promote itself as “unique.”

I’d like to put that to the test, and see if it is an appropriate word to use in describing the Inside Downtown Tour, coming up on Friday September 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and Saturday September 13 from 11 am to 4 pm. You might think that a tour that gets you inside private apartments and other fabulous spaces in downtown Rochester would easily qualify for the “U-word.”  But if that is not enough, here are some of the experiences in addition to the incredible architecture waiting for ticket holders on the tour days.

Sipping beneath gloves, combs, scarves, pens, and jewelry dripping from the ceiling.  Our tour headquarters will be the Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  One of the current exhibitions in “State of the City 2014” features lost (and found) objects displayed above your head. Thanks to sponsor Underberg and Kessler, on Saturday the 13th you can enjoy light beverages and snacks while pondering the connections between the objects.

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Pressing the PH button.  When is the last time you got to press that button on an elevator panel?  On tour days, you won’t need a special pass or keyfob to go to the top – just a tour ticket.

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270 degree view, indoors and out. The outdoor balcony wraps around 3 sides, 11 stories in the air.  For those with acrophobia, you can enjoy the view from inside, gazing through the glass curtain walls of a mid-century marvel.

A view that will make you WANT to sit in the dentist chair. Dr Michael Lewis is kindly opening his office to the tour goers. No worries, an appointment is required if you want to have any of those pointy things stuck in your mouth.

view towards lake form 1 East ave_resized

The best weather watching windows.  Something about seeing the drama of weather played out against the downtown skyline makes you glad for the large windows in this apartment.

The only private downtown pool and firepit.  Okay, you won’t be swimming on this September tour, but you will get to admire this great setting, seldom seen by anyone but the residents.

who would suspect there is a pool behind these walls?

who would suspect there is a pool behind these walls?

An employee cafeteria or cool coffee café? Craft Café was started by D4 eDiscovery to give their employees a place to grab lunch or meet.  But it was too good to keep to themselves, so it’s open to the public as well. On Friday night of the tour they are offering ticket holders complimentary light refreshments.  You can buy great stuff from their menu that night and on the Saturday tour day as well.

A s’mores bar in a burned out church.  We can’t make this stuff up.  Our new YUPs group (Young Urban Preservationists) will be hosting a s ‘mores bar for ticket holders on the Saturday in St Joseph’s Park. Come and roast your marshmallows in a space created from the shell of a church destroyed by fire decades ago.  Rumor has it there will be some cool things happening in the park on Friday night as well.

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How did we do?  Comment to let us know if you think this tour deserves the “U-word.”

There’s one more unique thing about the Inside Downtown Tour – last year it sold out for the first time ever.

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

2nd Thursday’s at St. Joseph’s Park

2nd Thursdays Networking Event sponsored by The Landmark Society of Western New York. Out and Equal New York Finger Lakes monthly event held at the recently reopened St. Joseph’s Park. Bella Weddings of Rochester will introduce you to the newest spot for weddings and events and Battatini’s, Green Zebra Catering Company, Grain & Salt, and Max Rochester will titillate your palate serving hors d’oeuvres. The Landmark Society will fill you in on all the great work that they are doing in Rochester and the region while you snap photo booth wedding shots and relax in this beautiful urban park.

$10.00 Entry provides wine, beer, soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres .
Reservations: https://oenyfingerlakes.groupsite.com/main/summary

About St. Joseph’s Park

St Joseph’s Park is located inside the remains of what was the city’s oldest Catholic church built by German immigrants in the 1800′s and destroyed in 1975 by a disastrous fire. The Landmark Society owned park opened in 1980 with renovation designed by Handler/Grosso Architects.

At the city’s center, just north of Main Street stands the haunting beautiful remains of St. Joseph’s Church, an edifice of Lockport stone whose massive walls, gracefully arched windows and soaring clock tower continue to inspire. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the inspiring ruin has for the last three decades been owned and preserved by the Landmark Society as a small park and an architectural focus for future downtown development.

About Out & Equal

Out & EqualTM Workplace Advocates is the preeminent national organization devoted to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the workplace. Out & Equal New York Finger Lakes is one of 18 regional affiliates throughout the United States. Our members are located in Rochester, Canandaigua, Buffalo, Corning, Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse and points in between.

Our mission is to educate and empower organizations, human resource professionals, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and individual employees through programs and services that result in equal policies, opportunities, practices, and benefits in the workplace regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or characteristics.

Out & Equal provides enriching workplace services and programs, such as our Building Bridges LGBT Diversity Training and Town Call Series to realize our goal: to promote equality for all individuals, including the LGBT community, families, and allies in the workplace.

Out & Equal also makes significant advancements in our campaign for equality for all people in the workplace through 18 national regional affiliates (including NY Finger Lakes), networking events, discussion groups, professional speakers, our annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit, as well as promoting LGBT best practices, including Out & Equal’s 20 Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace.

Out & Equal’s newest program is www.lgbtcareerlink.com, an online career development portal serving diversity-friendly employers and the LGBT workforce alike.

Location info: St. Joseph’s Park, 108 Franklin Street (Corner of Pleasant St and Clinton St). Parking adjacent to building on Pleasant Street and street parking available.

Rain location: RoCo, 137 East Avenue

Inside Downtown Tour: View from the Top

view towards lake form 1 East ave_resized

September 12 and 13. It’s a little more than a month away: the date when all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) will be at your feet.

The Inside Downtown Tour will give you the “View from the Top” as penthouses and rooftops are open for the 2014 ticket holders. It’s all part of the effort to showcase urban living and working in re-purposed buildings – and to have a great time doing so!

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street. The event will take place on two dates. On Friday, September 12 the sites will be open from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, leaving you time afterwards for a late dinner or refreshing beverage (or two) in the East End. Saturday, September 13 the sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

But you don’t have to choose a day. Your ticket can be used either day, and you can visit the 10 sites in any order that you wish. So – what types of views are we talking about?

The Sibley building will open for us. Winn Development has been creating an amazing transformation of the Grand Old Lady of downtown. You’ll see completed areas as well as sections that are in the process of rehabilitation (not normally open to the public.) The view? Weather depending, you’ll be able to step out on the roof of the former department store for an up close and personal with the iconic tower clock.

Sibley clock tower w Caitlin 1_resized

Several other buildings will have private home penthouses open, showcasing upper level living in every sense of the phrase. You’ll enjoy gazing down at the streetscape or across to the neighboring buildings – when you’re not marveling at the wonderful interiors.

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You’ll get to push this button on the IDT!

The pinnacle of the views will be from The Penthouse at One East Avenue. It would be tour-worthy for its fantastic Mid-Century Modern design alone, but the view is the icing on the cupcake. From their 11th story perch you can see Lake Ontario on a clear day, as you stroll the open balcony wrapping three sides of the space. If it is not a clear day you can enjoy the view from inside, as the glass curtain wall gives an unobstructed view no matter what the weather.

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Tour and Ticket Details: Your tour ticket will be good both Friday evening September 12th and Saturday during the day of September 13th. You may visit each tour stop one time, in any order that you desire. On Friday night we’ll have the friendly “Rochester Red Shirts” to greet you and guide you. These retired law enforcement officers from the Downtown Special Services Program will be easy to spot in their red polo shirts and will make sure you know the way to the different tour stops. They even wear glow lights at night!

Inside Downtown Tour Tickets will be available online on August 11th, or at Parkleigh and the The Landmark Society office by September 1st.  Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

Last year’s tour was a sell-out!

Open The Gates @ St. Joseph’s Park

The Landmark Society’s Young Urban Preservationists (YUPs) present Open the Gates @ St. Joseph’s Park on Friday, August 1st. St. Joseph’s Park, the remains of a church that burned in 1975 and was converted to an urban park, will officially re-open its gates to the public on First Friday. The YUP-sponsored event will include: music, munchies, lawn games, and St. Joe’s Mo’s (mojitos). Photography by Richard Margolis will also be on display. The event is free and open to the public!

This event is sponsored by Abundance Cooperative Market. Generous funding for repairs at St. Joseph’s Park provided by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Davenport-Hatch Foundation. Landscape services provided by Ted Collins Tree & Landscape.
Friday, August 1st | 7:00-10:00 PM | St. Joseph’s Park, northeast corner of Pleasant St. & N. Clinton Ave. | FREE!

Bikes, Beer & Buildings – Rochester’s First Bike Scavenger Hunt

Presented by the Young Urban Preservationists

Grab your bikes, your smart phone, a few friends and join the YUPs for Rochester’s first bike scavenger hunt, followed by a few well-deserved drinks at LUX Bar & Lounge. You’ll see some of Rochester’s best known gems and little known secrets, you’ll get some exercise, and you might even learn something new about the Flower City.

Teams of 1-4
$5/person

Meet in Star Alley (662 South Ave. in the S. Wedge) starting at 12:30 PM to get your list of clues and complete the registration process with your Instagram and Munzee account names. We’ll send you off at 1:00 PM sharp. Meet back at LUX Lounge by 3:00 PM. First beer is on us!

>>Click here for tickets and complete details

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

660WMain

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