Within the last year I have written a great deal about cities and the historic buildings they should be obligated to see maintained. Many cities cannot, will not, or do not want to penalize or fine the industrial and commercial property owners who fail to maintain the buildings within their care. Often what happens is that these neglected buildings are then demolished because they are supposedly beyond repair or structurally unsound.
It should be noted that buildings are rarely too far gone, even when roofs are missing and the “elements” have begun to reek havoc, and that often these very buildings are “structurally sound.”
It is through the process of defining what we want as a town that we are becoming a real community. It is through the act of participation that we change.
This is not simply a story of not-in-my-backyard. It is the unfolding tale of how a small community … is rising to its own defense, saying, we believe we have a stake in the future of our own community, which we choose to define beyond our own boundaries of time and space and species…
In February we heard rumors that the iconic High Falls smoke stack might be coming down. Yesterday I noticed scaffolding going up around the structure. Today I learned the stack will be completely demolished, probably before winter…
It had been assumed among some preservationists that Mayor Thomas Richards was directly responsible for pressuring the Zoning Board and Planning Commission prior to their respective votes to allow the demolition of the historic Cataract Brewhouse. That was the unofficial word coming from people inside City Hall, and it’s no secret that big business executive types like to stick together. Now, after the dust from that battle over preservation has finally settled, and the rubble has been cleared away, the Mayor is affirming those assumptions and declaring all out war on preservation.
I received a message yesterday from a RocSubway reader named Rick U. Rick wanted to share some of his images from Genesee Brewery’s (aka North American Brewery’s) demolition of the once historic Cataract Brewhouse. By now I’ve seen just about all I can stomach of this disaster. I mean, this is how we create jobs in Rochester? Building parking lots on historic buildings? BUT, putting all that aside, this series of images is quite exceptional. And these are just a sampling from a MUCH larger album which I’ve linked to at the bottom of this gallery. Take a look…
As North American Breweries / Genesee Brewery are preparing to demolish the Cataract Brewhouse, we are preparing to capture the tragic event as it unfolds. Crystal Pix, Inc. (Fairport, NY) has graciously volunteered to document the development of the GardenAerial project, and as part of that story, the demolition of 13 Cataract will be immortalized as well… sadly.
All the controversy over whether or not to demolish the 120 year-old brewhouse at 13 Cataract Street 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.
Tonight the Preservation Board and Planning Commission will hear public comments and decide whether or not 13 Cataract will join the ranks of the reborn, or go the way of Rochester’s Bragdon Station and others.
Yet another press release from the Brewery today. They are clearly on the defensive and changing their story every day. Now they say, “the building at 13 Cataract Street will NOT be replaced with a parking lot. See the attached rendering.”
I’m sorry, I just can’t take this rendering seriously. It looks like an episode of South Park unleashed on our streets. But hold on… if the Brewery wanted to put a stage in the place of the historic 13 Cataract building, why did their plans show a parking lot? Is this rendering real; or clever marketing spin? I think the answer lies somewhere in the Zoning Board’s January 19th decision.
Boy oh boy, this Brewery story is getting complicated. So let’s review the events that led to this horrific rendering issued yesterday. Here’s a timeline:
Brewery CEO, Rich Lozyniak, said Thursday that those who want to save 13 Cataract Street are “a very small group of people standing in the way of progress.” I don’t believe tearing down a 120 year old brewing landmark for 27 parking spaces is progress… I’ve always supported the idea of a Brewery Visitor Center. But I also support the effort to save the 120 year old brewhouse across the street (13 Cataract ). And I know I’m not alone…
Evidence that a story can be spun in multiple directions. Here is Rich Lozyniak today announcing that he has listened to the community but he’s not open to allowing 13 Cataract St. to be redeveloped—a building which was designated one of official historic value by the City in 2003. He’d rather threaten to scrap his project across the street than remain open to the possibility for two development projects side by side. The threatening tone of his statement below is clearly aimed to scare the Planning Board into denying Landmark status for 13 Cataract. Yet, somehow, it’s his name that is being “dragged through the mud”? Be careful what you wish for Mr. Lozyniak. That “small group of people” you say are standing in the way of progress might actually be standing on the progressive side of the issue. Enough of that. Here’s his statement…
This Wednesday the Preservation Board will decide whether or not to sponsor a citizen’s request to nominate 13 Cataract St. for Landmark Designation. If they sponsor the nomination it will move on to a public hearing and to the Planning Board for consideration later this month. If they don’t, it could spell the end for this valuable piece of our history and any possible redevelopment on the eastern rim of the High Falls gorge. In the meantime, North American Breweries, Inc. continues to move ahead with work on their visitor center across the street. No problems posed so far by the big bad historic building across the street.
Cars parked in the High Falls neighborhood this week got notices slipped under their wiper blades. RG&E will be demolishing the last Beebee Station smokestack sometime within the next six months due to high levels of asbestos contained within the structure.
A new web site, SaveCataract.com , and a mountain of information on Rochester’s endangered Cataract Brewery building has surfaced this week… The accomplished life (and death) of its architect… Original architectural drawings… And new documents submitted by North American Breweries to the Zoning Board (see the section called Offers to Buy Cataract). Ready? Let’s dive right in… (more…)
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.