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62 Responses to “Filling In: Holmes Tract”

  1. Jay says:

    I called Gleason about this lot a few years back (2009?) for a developer who was eyeing it for the same reasons. All they want is a cool $300,000 and it’s yours.

  2. Mary says:

    As I’ve mentioned before, if Morgan wanted to build an apartment house on Atlantic Avenue, it would have. Obviously, it wants to build an apartment house on University Avenue. Do you really think Morgan Development doesn’t know about this lot?

  3. Vicki says:

    Poking around on Google maps, I can anticipate one objection to this plan, even if it remains unspoken. 933 University Ave. is in a “good” neighborhood. This vacant lot is not. What surrounds it is mostly small houses and a lot of small businesses, and not the cute boutique kinds of places you find on University, but car repair shops and the like. As much as I think this is a really great idea for neighborhood development (and I really do), I can see developers balking, if their aim is to draw upscale businesses/renters. I think that developing this lot would be great; it could create a renaissance of the area immediately around it, but I think it would be a tough sell, compared to the University Ave. site.

  4. Patrick Chefalo says:

    So, Vicki, what you mean to say is: of Morgan can’t defile the Eastman property with cheap housing, it doesn’t want to do business here?

  5. Vicki says:

    Patrick, no, no, nooooooo. I know NOTHING about Morgan, or its motives or business practices or anything at all. Never even heard of ’em before this discussion. I’m saying that *any* developer who is aiming to attract upmarket renters will prefer the University site over the Atlantic Avenue site. If the aim is affordable housing, then the Atlantic site might be more attractive.

  6. Peter says:

    Not sure if people want to pay for nice condos if the Barrel of Dolls and railroad tracks are your neighbors. However, maybe building a nice development could transform the area.

  7. Mary says:

    Patrick: It is not the Eastman property.

  8. Nate B says:

    Speaking to the posts about this being a different neighborhood, I’m not convinced a whopping 0.2 miles (that’s right, less than a quarter mile) puts the sites in different neighborhoods.

    Of course property along railroad tracks is less appealing, but lets not pretend like we’re talking different markets here. Morgan wants the University Ave traffic and central location – an extra 2-blocks away from Park and East Ave does diminish the marketability.

    Kudos to Mr. Denker on this post, but I’m afraid the Morgan business model isn’t quite that ambitious..

  9. Adam says:

    I could be mistaken, but I think I had heard that the ground on that lot is contaminated and requires a lot of expensive cleanup, which is the main reason why it’s remained empty and nothing has been built there.

  10. Vicki says:

    That property isn’t shown on the Rochester Brownfields Clean-Up map, and the closest problem sites are listed as having been remediated. I suppose that that doesn’t mean that the property is buildable.


  11. Matthew Denker says:

    Hi All! Thank you for starting a lively conversation this morning. The property has one small corner to the lightly used portion of the rail yard, but could easily have the parking put to that side to minimize its impacts on the residents. Even so, a well built development generally has little problems from railroad tracks. Think about the lofts at 55 Railroad Street not far from here (or Arris Lofts in NYC).

    While I do recognize the issue with Barrel of Dolls, this site is also less than 1500 feet from Good Luck and Booksmart Studios, and all of the other lovely shops and offices at Village Gate.

    As for the “if Morgan wanted to build here they would” argument, I tend to find that development is more opportunistic than that. I mean, Morgan could be making a ridiculous amount more money building a skyscraper in New York City right now, or even putting this exact same development in Silver Spring, MD and charging 5x the rent. I am sure they’d “like” to do that, but the opportunity isn’t there. I think in Morgan’s case, they saw an opportunity to work with the Veterans and are taking it. This lot, at 300,000, is not particularly pricey. Considering single family homes in the neighborhood are desirable and sell for $150+ when in good condition, you’re looking at 20+ of them on this lot. Paying less than 10% of the cost of the home for the land is a solid deal. The bigger trick is having the capital and maybe the guts to try it when people might fight to save an unused parking lot over marring the historic character of their neighborhood.

  12. Jeff says:

    I’m not sure that a development on Atlantic Ave could capture the higher end residents that I’m sure this developer is hoping for. It’s possible that something fronting Anderson Ave might though.

  13. Patrick Chefalo says:

    @Mary: let’s build a WalMart on the National Mall; there’s a lot of unused space. Create jobs. Raise taxes on unused land.

  14. John says:

    Just like jumping from East to University brings a large change in the streetscape (a critical part of the 933 University debate that seems to be overlooked), jumping from University to Atlantic is a large jump. If the development were to front Atlantic, instead of seeing the front of Gleason Works as it would from 933 University, the development would overlook the ugly and very industrial back side of Gleason’s. Anderson to the East really isn’t an attractive frontage either. It also opens up a giant can of worms in creating attractive frontages on 4 sides of the development vs 1 street frontage and 3 tree’d frontages to neighboring properties like on University. While it would be closer to Village Gate, that area of Atlantic feels disconnected from University and East.

    This whole debate over 933 University is disgusting. I’ve yet to seen a legitimate argument against the development, except maybe the quality of build materials (which can easily be changed). The rest is just a bunch of NIMBYs crying that the neighborhood is progressing and the whiny George Eastman House that is angry it messed up buying the property for themselves. Build 933 University and hope someone comes along interested in this parcel.

  15. Patrick Chefalo says:

    BTW, I tend to overuse exaggeration trying to get my point across, but I have to ask: how many world-class museums do we have in Rochester? How many remainders of the gilded era do we have? What is the purpose of having a preservation district, if we don’t intend to preserve? As someone pointed out, if two tenths of a mile (and a strip club I’ve never heard of before today) make or break this development, is it not just an outsider grab at upscale property for a project that’s not really needed anyway? Is the population of the Rochester area growing so much that this development is needed next to the space where an idyllic mansion sits? When did Rochester become Tokyo?

  16. Mary says:

    I notice you have the separate building that is supposed to house Monroe Voiture. Why would Monroe Voiture be at the Atlantic Avenue location?

    See, the Monroe Voiture OWNS the land they are on now. If Morgan does not build there, they have no need for building a new home for Monroe Voiture in its Atlantic Avenue lot.

    So, okay, you’ve moved the Morgan Development to Atlantic Avenue. Now, what about the Monroe Voiture? It can’t afford to fix up the building, the city is getting no taxes from that land, since Morgan is not building on it, GEH thinks it will cost too much to fix up the Monroe Voiture. It suggests the Monroe Voiture move into another building on the GEH land…..but for only twenty years.

    @Patrick: Why are you going berserk when all I did was point out that the Monroe Voiture land is not on GEH property? That’s a fact.

  17. Matthew Denker says:

    Ok, woah, calm down everyone!

    1.) I believe this part of Atlantic feels as isolated from University (and East) largely because of this big, empty space. I don’t think it has to feel disconnected.

    2.) The idea of the article is, in some small way, to ask “what happened?” How did it come to this? In any event, the idea of a land-swap is the sort of compromise that it would be nice to see the opposition to 933 University putting forward. I tend to agree that the opposition is less serious if they are not willing to entertain this sort of idea.

    3.) The problem, for me anyway, is to concentrate growth (although it’d be great to increase it as well). In 2011, 947 residential building permits were issued for Monroe County. Of those, only 244 were for inside Rochester city limits. Additionally, despite the amenities supporting multi-family housing in the city, only 49 of the 145 multi-family units were constructed in the city.

    4.) The idea behind a land swap is for the Voiture to get the same benefits from Morgan as they would get at their current property. In so many words, the Eastman house would be able to “buy out” the Voiture while still making the Voiture, Morgan, and Gleason Works whole. It basically becomes more about the timing of the money than anything else.

  18. Rottenchester says:

    @Patrick: “outsider grab” Looking at their website, it appears that Morgan has been in Rochester since the 70’s. Do they have to be here as long as Kodak in order not to be an outsider?

    “not needed” By what standard of need?

    “idyllic mansion” Really? That house facing the wrong way with a huge parking lot and an ugly, incongruent, windowless addition is “idyllic”?

    “Tokyo” Lulz to the LOL power.

  19. Patrick Chefalo says:

    @Mary: berserk. You don’t get out much.

    @Rottenchester: your name exposes your opinion. Your influence should approach zero in the community as a result. But as a nod to your question about Morgan; I thought they were from out of town: my mistake. But are you suggesting this company:


    managers of RV parks. self-storage units and manufactured homes, is a suitable neighbor to our cultural institutions?

    Never been to Tokyo, obviously, or you’d understand my drift. What is this lulz that’s on your mind, by the way? Is it like: have you ever stopped to think, and never restarted?

  20. jimmy says:

    I dont understand why people think this property loses value because it is next to a train yard. What, is it an eyesore? Is it the noise? I don’t think trains choo choo very often over there, even if they do, … Am I the only one who enjoys the noises a train makes? I find the choo chooing of trains comforting and whats cool is that they probably sound pretty much the same as they did one hundred years ago.

  21. John says:

    @Matthew, Maybe its the lack of things going on in the area that make the section of Atlantic feel isolated, but I think a lot of it has to do with the odd wheel and spoke design of our city and its dissections by various throughfares that don’t abide by that wheel and spoke design that create awkward wedges of land. You probably are right that a development here would help to connect it to the activity on University and in Village Gate.

    The comments about the building permits are interesting and I think you have no further to look than city hall for the lack of multi-family dwellings. They are daily tearing down multi-families and replacing them with vacant lots or single families. They are tearing down series of buildings in dense neighborhoods and combining lots to create bigger, suburban lots. What you point out is a symptom of a city hall that wants to suburbanify neighborhoods.

    @Jimmy, The rail yard isn’t a big issue to me, its the ass end of Gleason works that you’ll see out the front facing Atlantic. It’s a parking lot and the backside of a factory. It could be solved by re-facing the building towards Anderson and making it feel closer to Village Gate. Flip-side of that is being essentially nextdoor neighbor to the strip club, besides Norwood a vacant lot is the only buffer, and it’ll only do more to make that stretch of Atlantic “ugly”.

  22. Mary says:

    It’s difficult to find a place in the city where one doesn’t hear the trains. In fact, I’m hearing one passing over the Culver Road overpass right now. I’m about six blocks from there. Some clear nights, I swear, the trains are going down my street. I can’t imagine what they would sound like right next to me!

  23. Malcolm says:

    The George Eastman House was never “idyllic,” especially as it opened in the same year as Gleason Works; that part of Rochester—indeed, like most parts of Rochester—has always mixed both heavy and light industries with residential neighborhoods. East Avenue and especially University Avenue were never pristine, untrammeled locations that were immune from Rochester’s dirty industries or heavy transportation. It should be pointed out, however, that Rochester has a number of world-class museums, most of which come up in online search engines before GEH: the National Museum of Play; Rochester Museum and Science Center; the Memorial Art Gallery; and arguably Mount Hope and Holy Sepulchre cemeteries, as well as “world class” natural features, one of which is the reason that Rochester is even here (High Falls)—any of which I would head to before GEH.

    As for the spot that Denker proposes: The train yard nearby is actually a draw, as a number of people have pointed out. Station 55 and the Lofts at Village Gate are only the beginning of what will eventually be a great amount of development. The amenities near Atlantic, with Writers and Books, Image City Photography Gallery, boutique shops, School of the Arts and Cobblestone School, Village Gate, et cetera, make this an ideal location. Obviously Station 55, Lofts and Village Gate, Village Gate Square (277 North Goodman) have shown that pricier housing can work here.

  24. Mary says:

    I took the driveway from University up to GEH to ascertain how the new complex would “ruin” the view from the rear and side yards of GEH. I haven’t used that driveway since I was a teenager going to see old movies at the Dryden. What was the first thing I saw? The ultra-modern public entrance to the GEH. Where were all you preservationists when this totally unsuitable addition was slapped on to a beautiful old mansion?

    Anyway, there is a planned stretch of trees between the public entrance and the new project. I figure a building would have to be four or five stories tall before it would even be seen from that entrance. The only garden to the rear of the GEH is the Rock Garden. The popular West and Terrace Gardens are way towards East Avenue. I’m not sure how tall a person would have to be to catch sight of the new complex.

  25. Doug says:

    I really don’t care what happens to either site so long as they are eventually used. I believe that a new development needs to happen and, due to the preservation district, these two spots seem to be the only options. Rochester will go nowhere if we don’t continue to expand, especially in the areas people actually want to live. If you rehab the Atlantic site then I’m sure the surrounding blocks will liven up a bit. There will be opponents to any plan for anything.

    Some people don’t understand that preserving every blade of grass isn’t that much better than knocking everything historic down and building glass and concrete boxes. We need a balance of both. So lets work out a compromise. Whatever happens I still believe the unused Voiture building needs to go, or at least reused and cut back to the original house design

  26. Rottenchester says:

    @Paul: Metro Tokyo population density: 16,000/sq mile. Rochester population density: 6,132/sq mile. Hence, LOL at the notion that we’re anywhere near the density of Tokyo, no matter where you’ve traveled.

    As for Morgan, you left one thing off the list of things they manage: apartments. So what if they manage RV parks and storage facilities? They’re not proposing either of those things on University Ave.

  27. Adrian says:

    Like the taco bell commercial, “why not both?” This Atlantic location though would be more middle/lower income for the reasons listed above (swapping neighbors – the GEH for a strip club).

  28. Peter says:

    @Jimmy – Have you ever lived near a train? I lived within 500 feet of one in West Virginia that went by 10 to 12 times a day, and they are loud and obnoxious. Also, the place I was living had dogs that lit up every time the train went by, I imagine many other dogs would have this reaction.

  29. Matthew Denker says:

    The issues with the train are easily mitigated with modern construction. The noise, etc, is easily mitigated with a CIP concrete structure and triple or quadruple pane windows. There are many examples of construction next to very noisy infrastructure where you cannot hear anything indoors. If you’d like some, see: http://www.corcoran.com/nyc/Buildings/Display/64015, http://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/dumbo/the-beacon-tower-85-adams-street/43378, or http://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/west-village/165-charles-street/29822. Oh, and before anyone says a quiet, modern building can’t be built more cheaply, the prices in NYC are divorced from the construction costs. There are plenty of modern buildings fronting the metro in a place like Silver Spring, MD or Washington DC that are also quiet and a quarter of the price or less.

    Changing gears, I think the strip club is the bigger issue. Any serious neighborhood improvement might involve a buyout.

  30. Patrick Chefalo says:

    Rochester social insect mentality at work here. Build, build, build. Paper wasps and fire ants come to mind. Rochester is NOT growing, and won’t for a long time, despite the pipe dreams of the 30-somethings. It _can_ be made into say, Greece or Henrietta, with some misguided effort. Like building bunches on University.

    World-class museums: only Play is truly that; the rest mentioned are second-class at best, third-class more fairly. The cemeteries are not museums.

    The number 1 definition of idyllic from the Bing dictionary: 1.serenely beautiful and happy: serenely beautiful, untroubled, and happy.

    The Eastman Mansion, with house set deeply off the streets, and surrounded by extensive gardens, for the benefit of one man, his mother and his friends: untroubled. Oh, of course, until he shot himself. But that’s probably what he would have done earlier if someone built a tenement by his back gate.

  31. Rottenchester says:

    @Patrick: Rochester growth is flat. Regional growth is not, because suburbs are growing (in Monroe and Ontario counties).


    Adding more nice apartments in the city means the city can attract some of the overall regional growth. All the sneering in the world (“tenements”) won’t change the fact that there is regional growth, and the city is missing out on it.

  32. Malcolm says:

    I could be wrong and somebody else should check, but I thought that there were relatively few problems for the neighborhood because of the strip club. The last time I checked was in 2005 when I considered purchasing the red Victorian house on Fairmount — only a house or two away from Barrel of Dolls. The biker club/dive bar had noise at only certain times of the day. My realtor at the time actually said that the club had been there for a long time and, make certain you are siting down for this next part, was “historic,” with an “older crowd”!

  33. Adrian says:

    Realtors will say anything…

  34. Malcolm says:

    The larger point I was trying to make is that while most of you are correct in that you will likely lose renters or people who would rent because of Barrel of Dolls, there are many people who will not give it any second thought, while still others will seriously consider the situation and still might move in.

  35. Matthew Denker says:

    Oh, I don’t think BoD is a dealbreaker, it just happens to be a little bit of a minus. Especially considering you will have to walk by it to Village Gate. I guess the question that I don’t have an answer to is if the right suite of amenities can make up for living a block from a strip club. I suspect it can, but who knows? I mean, how many apartments in Rochester have Viking ranges? In building gyms? Etc? Not many, to my knowledge. I guess the question is if people will pay for it.

  36. Mary says:

    People will live anywhere. According to the article on this very website, that hideous Erie Harbor is pretty much rented out.

  37. Patrick Chefalo says:

    So, let me be a bit more positive:

    1. Matthew’s proposal is one that will actually re-populate a traditional residential area that was cleared for now-defunct commercial use. (That should be a goal throughout the region as big boxes in suburbs destroy commercial property needs in the urban center.)

    2. The “world-class” museum that I refer to is NOT the estate itself, but the INTERNATIONAL (caps intended) Museum of Photography and Film. However the ambiance of the estate is important to Rochester, historically and as an inspiration for the future. It should exist in its original climate as much as possible or else it becomes irrelevant.

    3. I am not sure that housing in the City will attract growth to the City. The article cited above from Rachel Barnhart’s blog SHOWS that the growth is related to “babies” and Ontario County. Even on University Avenue, the school district is the lamented RCSD.

    4. What advantage to the world would there be to put a multi-story modern-build (low-grade materials are the only viable construction materials these days; see the Mayor’s reference to the plans to replace the Aud Theater with a “metal box” in Irondequoit) apartment in proximity to the Eastman House? I think the Morgan folks are trying to glom onto the local glory by building practically on Eastman’s property for their purposes alone; why else would they want to build inside a “preservation district?” I can be proven wrong if they jump to Matthew’s suggestion …

    5. The Voiture property would be more appropriate to ease the modernity around the Eastman House cited elsewhere. The parking lots etc. could be placed there w/o having to occupy the original estate grounds. THAT would be an improvement. The actual Voiture structure there now is not so significant as to fight to preserve, from casual observation.

    6. It occurs to me that the “new” Voiture club house was the lever for Morgan to upset the existing arrangement. I infer that the club consists of a bunch of bored old men (the Forty and Eight? I thought they were WWI vets and gone …) who don’t have the energy or support to engage in fund-raising to bring their existing clubhouse property up to modern comfort status. When Morgan bribed them, they jumped to the offer. Kinda sleazy if you ask me.

  38. Mary says:

    Patrick says: “I infer that the club consists of a bunch of bored old men (the Forty and Eight? I thought they were WWI vets and gone …)
    who don’t have the energy or support to engage in fund-raising to bring their existing clubhouse property up to modern comfort status. When Morgan bribed them, they jumped to the offer.”

    I can’t even come up with a reply to this quote. It’s totally despicable, and I, for one, will be turning a blind eye to your postings from now on.

  39. Matthew Denker says:

    @Mary – The aesthetics of Erie Harbor might be questionable, but there are not apartments of comparable build anywhere in the city. I hope to create apartments similar in layout quality bolstered with even higher fits and finishes (again, not many opportunities to own apartments in Rochester with herringbone wood floors and subzero refrigerators).

    Pleasant exteriors wouldn’t hurt, but there will almost always be a dialog about how a building looks. I’m not a huge fan of faux-historic. I am a big fan of mid-century modern (international). In Rochester, 44 Exchange and the Chase tower are probably the best examples (and I love both). In NYC I’d cite the classics: Lever, Seagrams, One Chase Manhattan Plaza. There have been some brand new buildings built to mimic this style that are quite good too, though.

    There will be an upcoming Filling-In with a post-modern tower design proposal as well. There are certainly some amazing towers of this style built or being built around the country.

    As for prefab/panelized construction, it can be done well or it can be done poorly. Generally, for it to be done well, the seams need to be built as a design element (a reveal if you will) rather than being just “there.” Some of the best examples come from NYC and are buildings like Superior Ink and 500 West 30th St. Some of the worst are the new Fiterman Hall and 529 West 29th St.

  40. Rottenchester says:


    6. is absolutely backwards, as is documented in the City Newspaper article that, overall, supports GEH position:


    Summary: The Voiture and GEH had come to an agreement on the property, then GEH changed the terms of the arrangement, which broke the deal. This left an opening for Morgan, because the Voiture vets were angry about the way GEH treated them, and because Morgan offered them a better deal.

    It’s also interesting how, absent any evidence, you’ve characterized the Voiture owners as “bored” and that you think doing what property sellers do every day, which is to take the best offer for the property they own, amounts to bribery.

    On 2, it seems that GEH and you have one point of agreement: since GEH is an INTERNATIONAL museum, it has some kind of special rights in the neighborhood. Is there some city ordinance stating that? Does Eastman’s ghost have some sort of right, similar to droit du seigneur, that gives GEH the first rights on any property on sale near their sacred land?

    On 4, are you talking about the same “low grade” building materials used to create the architecturally incongruous addition to GEH? If all modern construction is the same rickety stuff, then shame on GEH for using it.

    It’s amazing the smokescreen one can throw out when the real argument is simply Not In My Back Yard.

  41. Patrick Chefalo says:

    OK, Rottenchester, the old men were not bored, they were angry.

    Yes, an international-renowned institution should be treated especially if you care about the community.

    Yep, it’s a shame that the annex is of low grade materials. No need to add more to the area; does not help the general attractiveness, but hey: look at that wonderful Windstream building downtown. It’s ugly, too, as is He’s bubble tea emporium. But since they’re existing they must be perfect. Somehow I miss your point that adding crap increases the general attractiveness of the community.

    NIMBY, not: I live in the ghetto in Edgerton. But I don’t need the be in the area to be concerned. Build the damn building as Matthew suggests: keep it away from a historical, cultural spot.

  42. Rottenchester says:

    “the old men were not bored, they were angry.”

    Do you have any idea just how awful you sound?

  43. Joe says:

    Its a preservation district, not a stagnation district. The topic shouldn’t even be whether or not it should be built, there are other apartment buildings nearby from mid-century or earlier, but how to have it fit into the neighborhood.

    George Eastman would never want people to stunt growth in the city in his name.

  44. Patrick Chefalo says:

    See definition 2.

    Definition of preservation (n)

    Bing Dictionary


    [ prèzzər váysh’n ]

    1.protection from harm: the guarding of something from danger, harm, or injury
    2.maintenance unchanged: the maintenance of something, especially something of historic value, in an unchanged condition
    3.upholding of something: the keeping of something intangible intact

  45. Malcolm says:

    I guess that you are correct: GEH will have to remove any and all recent and/or modern additions.

    Preservation — just ask anyone at the Landmark Society — is not longer only about “saving/preserving old buildings.” A lot of thinking regarding “preservation” during the last few decades has focused on community building, embodied energy, and sustainability, among many other concerns, and not just about saving old buildings. If you talk to anyone at the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), they will all say that there are wondeful ways in which to incorporate new construction onto existing, historic buildings (ex., GEH), as well as into historic neighborhoods and places (ex. Morgan’s planned development on University). The forms to get tax credits from the state/federal government always want to know if, when you are renovating a historic property, you plan to make any additions or changes to the property. Nearly all historic preservationists acknowledge that adding new buildings to historic properties and neighborhoods is often a “must” for a variety of reasons: need new space for offices/living, the existing building is already being used, the historic properties are not well-suited to modern activities (living/business/work), and so forth.

  46. Malcolm says:

    The point is that “preservation” never means in the real world “unchanged condition.” This plays out for any significant renovation we have and will see in the months ahead — at Old Stone Warehouse (1 Mount Hope), the Academy Building (13 Fitzhugh), and sadly even the “Brewhouse” that Genesee created. The list goes on! The same materials are rarely ever available today, to start with.

  47. Patrick Chefalo says:

    Methinks thou does protest too much, @Malcom. Redefine away; words still mean what they mean, despite those who seek to twist them to their will.

    BTW, how come the rest of you save Matthew hide your identities here? Why don’t you use your whole names?

    Also, NO ONE who writes here in support of the Morgan proposal says why it’s such a great idea to use the Voiture site, when Matthew has shown there is an alternative 0.2 miles away, not in a Preservation district? Strip club, railroad tracks, commercial property neighbors, notwithstanding, it woul not be opposed (by me or likely others.)

  48. Adrian says:

    Patrick, I don’t use my full name because I don’t want you showing up on my doorstep. Also, arguments stand on their own merits, not on the identities of the people making them.

    IMO there is nothing wrong with building at this Atlantic Ave site and it’d be a great project. It’d also be a great project to build at the Voiture site. However they would be two different projects. Due to the strip club, railroad tracks, and slightly less advantageous location (more industrial), the Atlantic spot would be a little more downscale. The Voiture site will get more rich empty-nester types. Personally I think that if the market will take it, there’s no reason NOT to build them both.

    In my opinion the arguments against the Voiture development come down to:
    a) the neighborhood should be fossilized, or
    b) I live/work nearby and don’t want more neighbors.

    People will make argument #b against the Atlantic spot but it will be more transparent because they’ll be unable to camouflage it as argument #a. I say build them both!

  49. Malcolm says:

    I am telling you what “preservationists” on the ground, doing this work, have to say.

  50. Patrick Chefalo says:

    Adrian, you’re idea is just silly. Neither project is needed.

    Malcolm, there is a practical side to saying it’s easier to preserve by doing nothing than to fill up a space with an unneeded project, with low grade objectives for the community. People who are more involved with preservation than yourself (GEH staff) has recommended against this.

  51. Malcolm says:

    from the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

    What exactly is historic preservation?

    It’s much more than saving old buildings! Historic preservation champions and protects places that tell the stories of our past.

    It enhances our sense of community and brings us closer together: saving the places where we take our children to school, buy our groceries, and stop for coffee – preserving the stories of ancient cultures found in landmarks and landscapes we visit – protecting the memories of people, places, and events honored in our national monuments.

    Historic preservation is also about getting involved in saving these monuments, landscapes, and neighborhoods. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be fun! For example, have you ever…
    -Taken a house museum tour?
    -Shopped in local stores on a Main Street?
    -Volunteered at a historic site or community event?
    -Stopped to appreciate great architecture?
    -Detoured from the highway to follow the historic site markers?

    If you have, then you’ve been part of preservation.

    There are many ways you can get involved in historic preservation and save places that matter in your life. The important part is that you recognize the places that are meaningful to you, and to our nation’s heritage, and that they deserve to be around for future generations. That’s what preservation is all about.

  52. Malcolm says:

    As far as I know, nobody is attempting to do away with GEH or belittle the significance of GEH or Eastman or even Kodak to the history of Rochester. Nobody is trying to tear down GEH or Dryden Theatre, nor is there a call to deaccession the Motion Picture Collection. So, therefore, GEH is and continues to “be around for future generations.”

    The question, then, becomes what will the surrounding areas and neighborhood look like? And, to me, at least, the proposed structure on University does not detract from GEH or its ability to be around or from its mission.

    I was never on the other side of preservationists until this issue; I was never on the other side of trade unionists until the Cataract Brewery demolition.

  53. Malcolm says:

    And not for nothing: I hardly consider GEH’s mission regarding the “interpretation of photographic and motion picture heritage,” nor even its great work to “preserve” the “media [it] collects” makes them the go-to organization for historic preservation in Rochester.

    Furthermore, since you know little about me, you can hardly judge my knowledge about “historic preservation” compared to the staff at GEH. Museum directors, economists, curators, archivists, photographers, docents are not always “historic preservationists.” In fact, I know of no moment recently where GEH has stood in solidarity with efforts to save any historic properties in Rochester other than GEH itself.

    Despite the good work of Bruce Barnes (GEH Director) and Tom Jackson (GEH Board Chair), they are not “historic preservationists.” Barnes was a Wall Street guy, an economist, the creator of online educational opportunities — but not a preservationist. Jackson was the president of the UofR, a lawyer by training, but not a historic preservationist. Jackson took over his volunteer position from another attorney. Again, interest in history does not necessarily equal knowledge in historic preservation.

    In fact, Barnes, Jackson, and most, if not all, of the GEH board and staff were selected not for their knowledge of “historic preservation,” but for their expertise in the Rochester business community, as well as other traits.

  54. Patrick Chefalo says:

    Well, Malcom, I knew that would affect your self-esteem and prompt a self-defense. I am secure enough in my identity that I won’t give you my CV.

    Since you don’t give your full name (you can be anyone on the Internet) all you write is …

    GEH is everyday involved professionally in preservation: of the facility, the films and negatives (renowned for their work on nitrate base materials, the history of Rochester on their walls and in the neighborhood. QED.

  55. ELF says:

    Resorting to personal attacks, are you Patrick? The ad hominem fallacy is a sure sign of someone without a decent argument.

  56. Malcolm Kelley says:

    Your insistence on learning my last name makes you seem amazingly stalkerish. What in the world do you hope to do with such information? Do not expect to find me on Facebook or any other site, however; I have a limited internet presence.

    Here’s my next bumber sticker:

    I [heart] Patrick Chefalo

  57. Patrick Chefalo says:

    I really don’t care about your name to find out about you: your reluctance to provide it however makes you appear faker-ish. That applies to the others as well. If you can’t post under your own name, your opinions and ideas are – not serious. You could all be one person.

  58. Borg Adrian says:

    Patrick. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  59. Urban Explorer says:

    “it’s easier to preserve by doing nothing than to fill up a space with an unneeded project”

    Who are you to decide what’s needed? A private developer, with, at this point, private capital, has determined there is a market for this housing product in this neighborhood. Rochester desperately needs private investment. The last thing the city needs is for some self-appointed “expert” and/or government bureaucrat dictating what the city “needs.”

    And yes, I did not use my real name. Corporate counsel for the organization I work for advised that I not post. But I care deeply for Rochester and it’s future.

  60. Charles says:

    “I really don’t care about your name….. If you can’t post under your own name, your opinions and ideas are – not serious. You could all be one person”

    @Patrick Chefalo, lighten up, or light one up.

    Everybody is allowed to have their opinion and express themselves however they see fit.

    Matthew, while I normally think is a little pie in the sky (nothing wrong with that), makes a good point with this article because he is looking for solutions. He shows it doesn’t have to be so black and white.

    So the question maybe is, If this development didn’t go next to GEH, what as a society would we be okay with??? And if we came up with this agreed list prior, do you think something along the lines of the proposal would of been okay. What in the future would we allow?

    The preservation district “power” should also be examined. This is similar to national landmarks. It is never that you cannot change, update, or renovate at these sites. In most cases though you need to have your plans and ideas reviewed thoroughly. The review process helps keep the district intact but allows for the needs of the present to be addressed.


  61. Patrick Chefalo says:

    Unexamined assertions are “hot air.” Commonly repeated social truisms devoid of wisdom.

    “Rochester needs investment – any investment will do. “Project is needed because private capital says so” – here’s the problem with that witticism: private investment is out of control throughout this nation, AND private interests are by definition not interested in the public good. Government needs to be scrupulous about being a check to private exploitations.

    So, here’s the response to for the these latest two Internet posers, in repetition: why support this low-rent management company against the wishes of the neighborhood and an important institution? Why re-think what the word “preservation” means when there obvious alternatives?

    A little “ad hominem” advice: Don’t suggest to people that they should use illegal drugs to moderate their opinions, and don’t brag about your relations to counsel; common social things to do, to try to appeal or intimidate, but not worthy arguments in a discussion of ideas.

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