Okay, so I’m on the fence – sort of. Remember this proposed apartment complex at 933 University Avenue? After the Eastman House and other neighbors complained about the design, Morgan Management went back to the drawing board (or Photoshop or whatever) and they came back with this…
Quite a difference. The new design is much more in keeping with the architecture found in the East Avenue Preservation District. But has Morgan succeeded in mitigating the impact on the historic district? Is a modern interpretation of an English Manor really any better than than the original modern design? Perhaps.
Rochester’s Planning Commission and Preservation Board will review this case in the coming months. They’ll have to consider the impact of the demolition and new development on the surrounding neighborhoods. This is what sits on the site currently. The Monroe Voiture building (map it ).
Admittedly, I’m having some trouble finding much historical information on this property. However, we know the George Eastman House next door is fairly historic. So what would the real impact be on that historic property? Here’s a snippet from an official George Eastman House statement …
Ok. So the big issues are the view from the Eastman House, a new swimming pool 20 feet from the property line, anticipated parking challenges, traffic congestion, and the demolition of a 1920’s structure within a Preservation District.
Here’s the proposed site plan for 933 University Ave. The Eastman House property would be on the left. The dark green trees are existing trees which will remain. The light green trees would be new plantings. I have to say I like that the parking is hidden in the center of the complex. Looks like an improvement over the giant exposed parking lot that’s there now.
Now here’s an aerial view of 933 University Ave. The Eastman House and gardens are on the right.
And the same aerial view with the proposed site plan superimposed. Note the location of the pool. Currently there’s a long row of snow plows parked there. I don’t know. If I were Mr. Eastman I think I’d prefer to look at the swimming pool. But what would the view actually look like from the Eastman House? Morgan Management put together some simulations for us…
Here’s the current view looking east from the Eastman House gardens. Pretty nice.
Now here’s the same view from the Eastman House gardens but with the proposed development in there. You may have to squint to find it. I’ll help you out – it’s behind the greenhouse (you can click any of these images for a larger view).
Here’s that same view during the summer months, with foliage on the trees.
I guess I’m not really on the fence. I just don’t see what all the hub-bub is about. To be honest with you, even the original modern design didn’t bother me all that much. It was different yes. But the proposed building is on University Ave. which is already a fairly eclectic street in a place called “Neighborhood Of The Arts.” It’s not East Avenue – although this new design could certainly be placed on East and blend right in. In fact, I’d almost expect NOTA residents to complain next about the revised design being too stodgy for their artsy neighborhood.
There IS one concern that I agree with. The demolition of a salvageable 1920’s building in a Preservation District, does seem to set a slippery precedent.
Do you have strong thoughts on this case? What am I missing? Hit the comments below and try to convince me one way or the other.
Tags: 933 University Avenue, demolition, development plans, East Avenue, George Eastman House, Monroe Voiture, preservation, preservation district, Rochester, Rochester NY, University Avenue
This entry was posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 8:00 am and is filed under Opinion, 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.
The Eastman House complaining about this is ridiculous. Do they not notice the gigantic factory across the street? Is that historic enough for them?