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From Eyesore to Opportunity: Rochester’s Station 55

March 27th, 2012

Station 55 on Railroad Street. From Eyesore to Opportunity: a snapshot of adaptive reuse in Rochester N.Y.
All the controversy over whether or not to demolish the 120 year-old brewhouse at 13 Cataract Street external link got us thinking. Those in favor of demolishing the building say it’s an eyesore and a haven for drug dealers; even prostitutes. So, just remove the building and our problems go away.

Right?

But 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? For the next two weeks we’ll take a look at some local eyesores …or rather, opportunities, nearly lost.


Station 55
55 Railroad Street

By the time Costanza Enterprises external link remade this burnt-out structure into Station 55 external link in 2008/2009, it had already lived many lives. Best known as the home and headquarters of Noah’s Ark Warehouse and later a factory for assembling office furniture and equipment, the building had stood vacant since 2001. $3.5 Million in private investment turned this hopeless eyesore near the Public Market into very popular Soho-style loft apartments and 14,000 sq. ft. of buzzing market space.

Here’s the “eyesore”…
Station 55 on Railroad Street, Rochester N.Y.

And here is the “opportunity” we nearly lost…
Station 55 on Railroad Street, Rochester N.Y.

Thanks to Christene at Constanza Enterprises for the information and “before” photo. And thanks to Rich Margolis for the “after” photo!

How You Can Help…

Speak out against the demolition of 13 Cataract Street. Send an email to the Brewery and City Hall external link and show your support for a larger vision—Rochester’s Brewery Square.

Attend the public hearing on April 4 and speak out for saving 13 Cataract from Demolition.And attend the public hearing external link on April 4 at 8pm and sign up to speak in favor of preserving 13 Cataract for future development and reuse.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 at 8:06 am and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “From Eyesore to Opportunity: Rochester’s Station 55”

  1. Brian M. says:

    Wow!! Thanks for posting this. I have some friends who lived there, and I store my stuff there currently. Mindblowing transformation and a great argument for preserving old buildings for continued use.

  2. Pete Tonery says:

    Great example! I would like to add a very significant building to the list. The Eastman Dental Clinic on Main St. across from Black Friars. This place has so much important history attached to it. It is a monument, like the Eastman Theater, to the vision, philanthropy and wisdom of George Eastman. Eastman was not against organized labor. He believed in providing all the same benefits, as a matter of decency, to his employees that a union could. Unions took their cues from what Eastman did at Kodak. The dental clinic is an important legacy to Rochester.

  3. Rick says:

    What would it take to stabilize, or rehabilitate, or repurpose the building at 13 Cataract Street? I spoke with someone the other day who mentioned “> 10 million”. They couldn’t expound on the intricacies of what 10 mil would buy. IOW, would that money stabilize the building or would 10 mil turn the property into a restaurant on the 1st floor and brilliant lofts above?

  4. Brian M. says:

    Rick, I’m now wondering the same thing. The burnt-out Station 55 was converted into an awesome property with $3.5 million in investment. And it is certainly bigger than 13 Cataract.

  5. @Rick, that $10 million figure came from the Brewery’s engineer. It MIGHT cost them $10 million to renovate it and make it their visitor center… but the figures from CJS Architects and Costanza for stabilizing it and converting it to mixed-use commercial/office space are considerably less. I can’t speak to the specifics of any plan, but the numbers were…

    $1.3 Million for stabilization and making the building look presentable from the outside

    $4-$4.5 Million to put offices or whatever in it. And that includes the building next to it, 7 Cataract St. which is also being demolished.

    Unfortunately, the public may never get to hear the details behind these numbers if attempts to work with NAB on a deal continue to go unanswered.

  6. I take that back, if you attend the public hearing, you might hear more about these numbers.

  7. Cory says:

    Any idea if station 55 is a money maker for Costanza or are they underwater? I am not sure the initial concept worked and has since been modified.

  8. @Cory, I haven’t seen the books, but Christopher Costanza had this to say in regard to Station 55… “Not only does it look a whole lot better, but it turns out that private investment in downtown Rochester can be profitable even without massive public subsidies.”

  9. Renee says:

    Holy cow! This renovation was done before I lived here, so I had no idea what that building used to look like. What a transformation! Thanks for another great feature today.

  10. Brian M. says:

    Pretty cool. The people who I worked with for my storage solutions there at Station 55 are very nice.

  11. Nicholas says:

    I don’t want to be on the wrong side of this issue, but I know for a fact Station 55 has multiple vacancies because of 1) loud wall-shaking train traffic and 2) violent gang turf war around Garson Ave. Love the transformation and proximity to the Mkt tho!

  12. chase tyler says:

    Posts like this show that everything in Rochester is not spiraling downward. There is still hope. Maybe.


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