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UPDATE: Little House in the City

September 30th, 2015

Tucked away in a remote corner of downtown Rochester, facing the back side of the Geva Theatre and surrounded on all sides by parking lots, stands this unassuming brick house. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
By Mike Governale

Quick update on this story I posted in January about the sole remaining house in the Capron neighborhood downtown. Patrick Dutton has been working extremely hard to save and repurpose the structure. I know because he told me directly and I also have had conversations with contractors I know personally who have said the same. Unfortunately the house at 35 St. Mary’s Place has partially collapsed during the work, and now may be unsalvageable. Here’s an update directly from Dutton…

Rendering of 35 St. Mary's Place. [IMAGE: Provided]
“I understand there is some ongoing dialogue about our little house at 35 St. Mary’s Place. I wanted to set the record straight so that everyone talking about it has a clear understanding about what’s happening. We’ve been working hard to bring this bldg back to life, and would have demolished it a long time ago (believe me) if that was our intention. Even though there were earlier reports (RocSubway) that we were planning to demolish, that report was inaccurate and I was never asked for comment.* Attached is a rough draft of a recent rendering of what we had been working towards. It’s an unfinished rendering but you get the picture.

On Monday, while replacing the roof, 35 St. Mary's walls collapsed. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
On Monday, we were in the process of replacing the roof structure and the Capron street side of the 2nd floor collapsed under its own weight. It turns out that most of the mortar joints have basically been turned to dust over time due to age, years of neglect, etc.

Emergency demolition permits have been pulled. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
Before this collapse, this is a project that made essentially no financial sense but we were focused on reclaiming this old house because that is what we do. At this very moment we are discussing out options but it is not looking good. If anyone has any questions or would like further clarification, I’d be happy to discuss. Nobody has been more passionate and financially invested about restoring this neighborhood — I’m heartbroken by the turn of events.

We are exploring all of our options —- as soon as I know the final decision, I will let you all know. We have pulled an emergency demo permit in the event we have to go in that direction (which is the way we are leaning at the moment) but we are meeting with one additional mason and our structural engineer before making a final decision.”

• • •

UPDATE:

Since this report, the house has been demolished.

• • •

*Attempts were made to contact Dutton for comment prior to the story in January. All information came from reliable sources involved in the process.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 at 11:45 am and is filed under Architecture, Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

10 Responses to “UPDATE: Little House in the City”

  1. MIchael says:

    Hope perhaps something similar to St. Joseph (church) park. From the details that are visible this building appears much older than documented. Saving frame work as internal details of a larger glass framed building. Great for a restaurant or creative office space. Thanks for sharing background and send my best to those trying to save the space.

  2. Carmen says:

    If this happened to a structure in Charleston they would have just taken it apart brick by brick and reassembled it.

  3. Chris Stone says:

    I’m sad to see this house go, but if it does, perhaps there’s an opportunity here. From an urban design standpoint, it actually makes more sense for a new structure to be up at the corner of Woodbury and St. Mary’s, to anchor that much more prominent and visible corner, frame the park, and screen some of the surface parking on the rest of the block.

  4. Paula says:

    Carmen is correct. I’d like to know if an architectural engineer was involved in the project. Seems to me there should’ve been prior knowledge of this issue had it been properly inspected & evaluated.

  5. Joe says:

    Chris, this house is in from the corner. The lot at the corner of St Mary’s PL and Woodbury is a parking lot owned by Geva. So good luck getting that developed.

  6. Chris Stone says:

    Actually the parking lot on the corner, 31 St. Mary’s Place, is owned by St. Mary’s Church. I’m sure with creative thinking, an arrangement could be made.

  7. John says:

    Either way, while I like your idea, baring some cosmic shift in how Rochesterians look at parking. Good luck getting them to let go of a parking lot. God forbid people park on the street or have to walk more than several feet to somewhere.

  8. Jeffrey Packard says:

    Was this actually torn down this afternoon? I just saw something on Facebook saying a building was torn down but the only image was a pile of rubble.

  9. Chris Stone says:

    Yes. It’s gone.

  10. Sorry for being late to this, but in Charleston it also would have been worth over $1,000 a square foot, instead of a completely aspirational $100 a sqft in Rochester. The market can have a serious effect on the ability to save things (although not always as much as a developer might have you believe). Same goes for the Carnegie Building.


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