The second part of The Biking in Rochester Series showcases the route from downtown to Lake Ontario, following the Genesee River Trail. It is 20 miles, roundtrip, from downtown to the end of the pier at Lake Ontario Beach Park and back. Actually, I’ll take us a bit further and ride along the lake shore, east to Sea Breeze – adding another 8 miles to the trip.
Although this route is not as consistently scenic as the first one, it has much better rewards, and you get more of a workout. We’ll pass by 3 waterfalls, 3 beaches, 3 lighthouses, and two piers out onto the big lake. The western portion of this route is on the Genesee Riverway trail, a mostly completely dedicated bike path such as the one on the canal. The eastern portion is on King’s highway/Goodman street…
When I first moved to Rochester’s Swillburg neighborhood thirteen years ago, my favorite place to eat was Highland Park Diner. I remember this Rochester Landmarks poster, by Richard Margolis, hung over one of the booths there. I used to stare and study those landmarks all the while shoveling Aunt Bee’s Homestyle Meatloaf into my face. Ah, my first taste of Rochester. Today I own that poster, and I’ve now been to all but one of the 38 landmarks on it. It’s a great feeling!
Now you can get your hands on a copy of this Landmark poster from the RochesterSubway.com Gift Shop, and start checking them off your list too. Can you name all 38 landmarks? No peeking! The answers are after the jump…
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.
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.
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…)
The spate of recent articles in the D&C regarding local construction projects also means that there will be a great amount of demolition of older buildings and historic properties. Take, for example, the recent decision to demolish the Cataract Brewery buildings in High Falls. The cost to demolish the properties alone—estimated at $800,000 to $1 million—is more than twice the amount for which Genesee Brewery was recently selling the two Cataract Brewery buildings and a large parking lot. That same amount could be used to install a new roof and windows, “button up” the building, and abate the lead paint, within the older “gem” brewery building. Although the oldest Cataract building is currently a “liability” in the words of a developer who recently toured the property, it could actually act as the driver for redevelopment. Historic Preservation Tax Credits, coupled with city, county, state, and federal monies, could pay for at least 30-40% of construction costs, and potentially way more if the City took on the lead abatement costs and Genesee Brewery and its owner, KPS Capital, acted as an investor or partner in redevelopment.
Rendering of renovated buildings and GardenAerial trail
I realize that sometimes it’s a bit difficult to see the potential in something. Especially when that “potential” is hidden beneath layers of mustard yellow paint, rusty corrugated siding, and 25+ years of plain old tired…
The way things look now (click for larger views)
Why, just the other day Howard S. Decker, FAIA said, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beer Holder.” Mr. Decker is former Principal of DLK Architecture (Chicago) and former Chief Curator of the National Building Museum (Washington DC). He knows a thing or two about buildings, and places that are worth saving for future generations. His highly experienced eyes see the potential in 13 Cataract Street and the neighborhood it lives in.
But what about the rest of us? How can we be sure this building is worth the money and effort it will take to bring it back to life? What is the alternative to demolition? And will we lose our Brewery Visitor Center if we don’t tear this other building down??
Let’s start with an excerpt taken from a document filed by the Landmark Society in 1984 with the New York State Parks and Recreation Division for Historic Preservation…
On Friday officials at the Genesee Brewery unveiled plans they say will “create a destination for beer lovers that anchors development on downtown Rochester’s Northeast side.” Before we get too excited, let’s think.
North American Breweries says their planned “Genesee Brew House…will celebrate the storied history and experience of the Genesee brand” and that they want to “tell the story of [this] resilient company with a rich history that dates back to 1878.” But to do this they will demolish this building; the centerpiece of Rochester’s historic brewing district, built 1899.
The following press release was issued today by North American Breweries, the NYC investment firm that owns Genesee Brewery.
In brief, they plan to renovate an old packaging building, turn it into a visitor center, and level two of the last remaining original buildings in the heart of Rochester’s historic brewing district. The press release claims that the new visitor center “hinges” on the demolition of these historic buildings – not because the new visitor center is being built on the land, but because the old buildings impede the view of High Falls.
What the press release doesn’t mention is that one local group, the people behind the Garden Aerial Project and the Greentopia Festival, expressed interest in these buildings three months ago. They want to renovate the old buildings and turn them into office space and a visitor center in partnership with the brewery. I was told North American Breweries turned them down because the money wasn’t right. So it looks like they will spend $600,000 to demolish the buildings instead. ??
This press release comes at the perfect time for North American Breweries. I learned today that they are planning to submit their application on Monday to demolish 13 Cataract St.
RochesterSubway.com will be 3 years old this January and recently it welcomed it’s 100,000th visitor. While the bulk of this web traffic is local, the website gets a fair amount of visits from every corner of the country. And those visitors are very important. Case in point, Norm from Baltimore, Maryland. Norm read our story about Genesee Brewery wanting to demolish the old Standard Brewing Company Building and he sent us some inspiration from his home town… (more…)
RocSubway has word from good sources this afternoon that Genesee Brewery will submit an application today to demolish this building at the eastern end of the High Falls pedestrian bridge at 13 Cataract Street. This will likely be going to the Zoning Board hearing on Dec 15. Obviously, if true, this would be a great architectural and historical loss for Rochester. If you know anyone with deep pockets, now is a great time to buy!
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
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