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From Eyesore to Opportunity: Partners Building

Transforming Buildings & Neighborhoods

Recent discussions about the fate of the 120 year-old brewhouse at 13 Cataract Street got us thinking. Those in favor of demolishing the building say it’s an eyesore, beyond repair, and a haven for crime. With peeling paint, missing windows, and holes in the roof, certainly the iconic building has seen better days. And yes, crime does occur around the building; that is not an issue to be taken lightly. But will demolishing the building solve this problem?

If we demolished every “eyesore” in Rochester, would we have solved all the City’s problems? Or might we end up tossing the proverbial baby out with the bath water? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of these former “eyesores” to show that almost any building can be rehabilitated, to demonstrate how this rehab can, in turn, transform a neighborhood, and to remind us all of opportunities that were almost lost.

Partners Building
192 Mill Street

The Partners Building on Mill Street. From Eyesore to Opportunity: a snapshot of adaptive reuse in Rochester N.Y.

The Partners Building on Mill Street. From Eyesore to Opportunity: a snapshot of adaptive reuse in Rochester N.Y.

Located in the Brown’s Race Preservation District, this six-story building has been a highly visible anchor in the city’s oldest industrial area since its construction in 1881. Originally a paper box factory, the brick structure features a distinctive, Romanesque style corner entrance highlighted with sandstone trim. After years of decline, the building was acquired by the Norry Company in 1999. Listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, the handsome structure was rehabilitated under the Federal Investment Tax Credit program for landmark designated, income-producing buildings. Working with the State Historic Preservation Office, architect James Durfee of the Rochester firm Handler, Grosso, Durfee Associates coordinated the project. The $6 Million rehabilitation included the installation of a new roof, all new utilities, and new elevators. The exterior brick was carefully cleaned and re-pointed. Window sash were repaired and new insulated glazing installed. The striking interiors created on the top three floors for the Wolf Group (now Partners + Napier) are the inspired work of F2 Design of New York City. Entercom Rochester now occupies the first three floors.

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Want to see more “eyesores” that have been turned into economic opportunities and assets for our neighborhoods and city? Visit our Success Stories page to see the full list.

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From Eyesore to Opportunity: Partners Building

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