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20 Responses to “Filling In: Wadsworth Square & Marshall Street”

  1. Carlos Mercado says:

    Good concept, Matthew. Who owns this land – is it the City? Ideas like yours must be put forth. Another 60’s style glass box is not our future. The removal of the Inner Loop portion nearby will make the land more desirable for residential development. Thanks for sharing your good ideas!

  2. Adrian says:

    Abundance would be silly to move if 62 units sprang up right next door.

  3. Martin Edic says:

    I think the towers are a bit of overkill and scaled wrong for the neighborhood. The townhouses would work and provide a barrier from the Clinton exit ramp. I like the fact that we have a quiet residential neighborhood tucked in so close to downtown. It will become even more interesting with the Inner Loop fill.
    But I agree the park is almost useless. I was over there the other day with a friend taking pictures and wanted to sit down- no benches, tables, etc. No landscaping either, just grass and trees. More of a dog park than a people park. But great downtown views.

  4. Martin Edic says:

    Maybe a fountain square with a promenade and some seasonal outdoor cafe spaces like you see in Europe and NYC. That is something we do not have here.

  5. Hi all, it’s city owned land, both the parking lot and the park. While the Inner Loop is being filled in (heh!), I believe the highway cutting off this neighborhood from downtown will remain as on-ramps to 490 west. I’ll need to look into that further, though. Unfortunately, I was struggling to find a good 8 story “tower” with town houses to use as an example. The Christina Landing Tower shown here (in Wilmington DE, if anyone is curious) is notably taller than I am targeting here. I also think that the tower would be neigh unnoticeable in the neighborhood, based on the deep setback, but would help to frame the entrance to downtown better than Frontier currently does on the north side of the highway. It was also suggested to me that the outdoor amenities be connected directly to Clinton Ave, and I think this would be excellent as well.

    Separately, a space as you describe would be really nice, and is sure to feature in a much larger filling in later on. I believe a space such as that should have been built at College Town instead of the additional surface parking in the middle of the northern cluster of buildings.

  6. Martin Edic says:

    The other consideration to think through vis a vis a tower, is the affect on the lighting. Your location, as I read it, would darken the park for most of the day so I think they would be far more noticeable than you think. I’m very familiar with the space and it is pretty compact.
    That ‘award-winning’ design (not Matthew’s) is terrible. Like dropping a bad Vegas mall into a residential urban neighborhood. A perfect case of architectural arrogance.

  7. Martin Edic says:

    College Town and U0fR in general are obsessed with parking.

  8. With the tower set to the north and west portion of the site, I find it incredibly hard to believe that the tower will cast a shadow over anything other than the highway on-ramps. Indeed, from looking on Google Earth, there might be a shadow on abundance in the summer late in the day. I don’t think there will be one otherwise.

    I think limiting the parking accusation to College Town and UofR is cutting the issue short. I was rolling through the archives on Facebook, and noticed that people were actually commenting about where everyone is supposed to park based on the ILCC event for parking day. Considering we used 9 out of 26,000 spaces, one would think the answer is self evident.

  9. Jimmy says:

    Mathew thanks for the post. Also thank you for correcting Martin’s flawed shadow logic! Besides a 10 story residential building isn’t even that tall! (Except maybe for an irrational conservative rochesterian)

  10. Martin Edic says:

    Irrational conservative? I hope that wasn’t aimed at me, a very liberal advocate for downtown development with a long track record. I live in a five story building next to a nine story building so I’m quite capable of visualizing the shadow and it is a real issue when you’re shading a park. Obviously the actual location of the building makes a big difference. I bring it up because in Rochester we’ve never had to deal with light rights but they are a very real and contentious issue in places like NYC and Hong Kong where shading another building or neighborhood can have a very detrimental affect on its value and quality of life- equivalent to blocking a view.

  11. Martin Edic says:

    I’d also like to point out that implied insults coming from commenters who can’t use their real names constitutes nothing more than trolling. This is a discussion, not a spitting match.

  12. in some ways I am more sympathetic to light rights than others. I certainly think, if possible, consideration should be given to them, but it’s also important to promote the densities necessary to put some actual pressure on public spaces. While I would not want to cast Washington Square Park into shadow unnecessarily, the park is severely underutilized because of a lack of neighbors (both residential and corporate). I do think, when building something from scratch, one could set it up such that the shortest buildings around a new public square/park space exist to the south with the tallest to the north. I don’t know of any spaces designed specifically as such, but it would certainly be a good exercise for future editions.

  13. Sadly, I’m only now doing the historical research on this site that I should have before writing the article. The parking lot is the site of the former Wadsworth School 12 built in 1842. Here it is from Wadsworth Square Park in 1950 after it had stopped being a school: http://photo.libraryweb.org/rochimag/archives/modern/m0000/m0000346.jpg And here is a postcard of the park from the early 1900s:http://photo.libraryweb.org/rochimag/rochpublib/rpc/rpc02/rpc2066a.jpg. The park and land for the school were gifts of James Wadsworth to the city. Knowing the history of the square means it is even more important to keep the park space, as in my proposal, and in fact, building new walking paths around a statue of Mr. Wadsworth would be a a fitting tribute. Here is his Wikipedia Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_S._Wadsworth

    FWIW, I will try to do more historical research on these items going forward. incidentally, this site can be found on Plat 13 from the 1900 plat maps of Rochester, and it is interestingly different than it is now.

  14. More awesome information about the school in the background for this photo of a portrait Mr. Wadsworth dedicated to the school. I wonder if City Hall still has it?

    http://photo.libraryweb.org/carlweb/jsp/FullRecord?databaseID=716&record=22&controlNumber=20186

  15. Jimmy says:

    Yes Martin, when it comes to the city of Rochester development and economic policies, I bet you are a conservative. I bet you want our big government to stay big and remain business unfriendly. Conservative- (n.)”a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.” People can be conservative on certain issues. The issue of a shadow in the late hours of the day is a ridiculous reason to dismiss the idea of having some population density in our city’s core. ‘Light rights’ ? Come on. This is a downtown of a region home to 1 million people. We need to stop placing ridiculous restrictions on developments.

  16. Martin Edic says:

    Jimmy, thanks for pigeonholing me based on one comment about light rights- which is an actual issue developers deal with in fast growing cities. I am a longtime advocate of private sector development downtown as you’d know if you bothered to look at other comment streams on this site. I live downtown and am friends with most of the developers working on actual projects downtown including Woodbury Square, Hive, Morgan, The Towers, etc. I have a long term relationship with Rochester Downtown Development Corp (who represent all the real estate owners downtown) including being the original developer of rochesterdowntown.com which tracks all the projects underway in the center city. I could go on but frankly you don’t know what you’re talking about. Start by using your full name if you’re going to insult people on this blog (and I consider being called conservative a personal insult).
    BTW, the biggest enemies of development downtown are not conservatives- it is the local Green Party.

  17. Urban Explorer says:

    I think you both make valid points. Urban density does not have to be created by towers that cast long shadows and create negative impacts.

    However, I struggle to think of a 10 story building as a tower and think the concerns about shading the park are a bit overstated. As you point out, Martin, light issues are something we’ve never had to deal with in Rochester. But then mentioning Hong Kong and New York in the next sentence makes a leap of order of magnitude.

    I can’t speak to Jimmy’s particular situation, and I think he erred in the name calling, but sometimes people use pseudonyms to be able to speak freely online due to their place of employment.

    I’m just thrilled that someone is thinking about the potential for this sorely underutilized, publicly-owned property.

  18. At $25/mo for parking, it’s a wonder it’s not better utilized [sic]. Someone on facebook proposed to just design this as townhouses without the tower. This could actually be quite functional if one kept the surface parking behind them. I reckon you could do an L of maybe 14 townhouses here with maybe 20 parking spots in the back. The current lot has a max income to the city of $1450 before any maintenance costs at all. At that rate, the land is worth, in simple terms, about $200k (give or take a little). This translates to only $10k a house. If the city is open to it, I’ll get an architect on a design immediately. I’ll pay them back for the land at the full amount as soon as I sell all the places.

  19. Adrian Martin says:

    We could propose a win/win solution if light rights become an issue. Just step the tower and give the top two floors south-facing terraces. That will increase the value of those apartments and also decrease the tower’s shadow as its southernmost edge will be moved inward.

  20. Jimmy says:

    Martin, ‘Jimmy’ is what everybody calls me in real life, so why is it relevant for me to put my last name down? Listing your own track record is also irrelevant to this conversation. That’s what people do when they don’t have a good counter argument. I love Rochester too. You say you are a longtime advocate for private sector development. I think it’s appropriate to contest that claim. You implied that the land would be better utilized with…, “Maybe a fountain square with a promenade and some seasonal outdoor cafe spaces like you see in Europe and NYC. That is something we do not have here.” Do you think a private developer would make money off of that? Would the city make money off of that? How would anyone afford the maintenance costs of something like that? The city doesn’t have money for that. You are implying you want the city to severely restrict the decisions that a private developer can make so that Marshall st. can stay the same (quiet, the way YOU want it to be). Every urbanist knows that people (productive) are a city’s greatest asset. Rochester’s liberal and democratic policies suck… Big time. There are reasons why Toronto is shooting up skyscrapers on the other side of the lake and we aren’t. And being conservative is better than being a liberal. That is because conservatives tend to have more respect for a business’s economic freedom, where as liberals tend to favor policies like ones that give grants to private developers based on how many non-white males they have on their construction sites, or a certain % of units must be dedicated to section 8 housing. These are policies that the city of Rochester has adapted and they scare private developers away from developing in the city.
    Ok, well I better get back to writing my essay. I’m still in college.


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