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.

UPDATE: Online ticket sales have closed. Purchased tickets will be available for pickup at Tour Headquarters (RoCo, 137 East Ave.) during Tour hours only. If we are not sold out, day-of tickets will also be available for purchase ($25 each) during Tour hours.

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.

UPDATE: Online ticket sales have closed. Purchased tickets will be available for pickup at Tour Headquarters (RoCo, 137 East Ave.) during Tour hours only. If we are not sold out, day-of tickets will also be available for purchase ($25 each) during Tour hours.

Click here for the #insidedowntown tour page

 

Tick Tock Tick Tock… so says the Inside Downtown Tour Clock!

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It’s too late to get Inside Downtown Tour tickets mailed to you.   Fortunately it’s NOT too late to get advance tickets – but time is running out!  Can’t mail them, but we will just hold them for you at the tour headquarters, Rochester Contemporary Art Center at 137 East Avenue. Make it your first tour stop on Friday night between 5 pm and 8:30 or Saturday between 10:30 am and 4 pm.  You can purchase those money-saving beauties by clicking here, coming to our office between 9 am and 4 pm Monday through Thursday at 133 South Fitzhugh Street in Corn Hill, or going to Parkleigh at 215 Park Avenue.

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What about tickets the days of the tour?  Time may be running out for those tickets as well!  Last year’s tour sold out on the second tour day and, so far, the tickets are flying out the door faster than in 2013.  We DO plan to have tickets for sale at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and we will do our best to post information prominently on our webpage, if we completely sell out.  We will certainly have tickets available Friday night, and chances are a handful left on Saturday.

Brunch

But why tempt fate?  Order in advance, and relax over that pre-tour Friday cocktail or Saturday morning brunch knowing you’re about to embark on an amazing tour.

We also have a last minute, under the wire update on the tour.  Two additional apartments have been added – one of the tenants had been traveling and was not able to commit until returning to Rochester.  The tenant is an artist, and his apartment is an incredible treat – a penthouse filled with original works.  Don’t miss it!

>>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!

Inside Downtown Tour – Unique Experiences?

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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.

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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!

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.

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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!

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

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!

 

YUP Coaster Project Launch

Join YUP for our second official event at Abilene Bar & Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Way) at 6:00pm on Friday May 2nd where we’ll officially launch our new historic bar/pub coaster project, WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™. 

The coaster initiative will highlight interesting factoids and the rehab of communal gathering spaces and adapted historic spaces that have become some of the area’s favorite bars and brewpubs.

Patrons at the bars will receive a coaster with a QR code where they can access information about the transformation and reinvention of the building. Establishments currently participating include Abilene, 2 Vine, Edibles, Black Button/Rohrbach, Dinosaur BBQ and The American Hotel, in Lima, with more to come!

The first round is on us! No RSVP required, hope to see you there!

YUP Launches New Coaster Project

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The second official Young Urban Preservationists (YUP) event features the launch of our WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™    historic pub/bar coaster project at Abilene Bar and Lounge, 153 Liberty Pole Way in Rochester on Friday, May 2 beginning at 6 p.m.

The coaster initiative will highlight interesting factoids and the rehab of communal gathering spaces and adapted historic spaces that have become some of the area’s favorite bars and brewpubs.  “Maybe at some point these were buildings that were abandoned, neglected, left to squatters, scavengers, and the elements,” said Caitlin Meives, our Preservation Planner and fellow YUP. “Maybe they were labeled ‘eyesores’ and dismissed as a pile of bricks. But they were also reinvented—given new life by visionary entrepreneurs, investors, and local business owners. Oftentimes, their transformation has helped transform the neighborhood around them.”

Patrons at the bars will receive a coaster with a QR code where they can access information about the transformation and reinvention of the building. Establishments currently participating include Abilene, 2 Vine, Edibles, Black Button/Rohrbach, Dinosaur BBQ and The American Hotel, in Lima.

Anyone interested in preservation and community revitalization is invited to join the Young Urban Preservationists and to attend the public launch of the WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™  project at Abilene on Friday. Membership is not required for these events and there is no registration required for Friday’s event.  Plus, your first drink is on us!

 

$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