Rochester is NOT Portland. Even though Portland gets planty of rain, and cyclists there don't mind riding in it, they rarely get extremely cold weather or snow - unlike Rochester. Rochester can be a bike-friendly city as long as it's kept in the perspective that people will only ride bikes about half of the year and only in good weather.
I think it's pretty clear most of the commenters here don't live in this part of the city. Adding that many units here does not help increase the density of the city. There is little to nothing nearby. The residents would likely walk across the Eastman lawn to get to Park and East Avenues, where they would make a large trek to either the EastEnd or Berkley & Park, yes, they could also walk to Starry Nites Cafe, but the neighborhood surrounding Starry Nites, while up and coming, is still pretty dicey (wouldn't want my daughter walking around there at night). Don't forget the amazing foodstore of PriceRite, cheaper than Walmart!?! There is little to no residential life on most of this stretch of University, it's mostly old warehouse buildings where manufacturing STILL takes place. Allowing this to be built would be a great example of poor city planning. The East/Park area has survived 100 years because of its preservation. While we are at it, why don't we tear down the Eastman House and build apartments there too?!?. F$ck the majesty of East Avenue, it stands in the way of PROGRESS (and tax revenues). And for those against a parking lot, there is already a massive parking lot there. This is Rochester, where people demand free parking (hence the demise of downtown as the workplace of the region). Eastman's plan would beautify the lot, increasing green space and including a new sculpture garden adding to the ArtWalk.
Thank you for this well researched article on the proposed development at 933 University Avenue. Your paper serves an important role when providing substance to issues facing urban development.
My understanding of the process of having private investment of additional housing has been in existence for the last 2 decades. The influx of non tax supported multimillion dollar proposals should be taken seriously and facilitated to an outcome of quality, integrating with neighborhoods, and celebration.
This proposal at its current or alternative site reflects a very positive indicator of demand for development in Rochester. Hooray, at last! May your paper, neighborhood activists, and city officials work together towards its potential of a promising end for the City of Rochester.
It's nice to see City supporting a major advertiser, George Eastman House, even though GEH completely and totally screwed up what should have been a no-brainer acquisition of the Voiture. We wouldn't be having this conversation if GEH had dealt with those vets in a straightforward manner. And, once GEH bought the property, and once they figured out what they wanted to do with it after they used it for a parking lot for a few years (and Lord knows the one thing Rochester doesn't need is nicely landscaped parking lot), then City will be explaining why whatever GEH wants to do is worth tearing down the historic Voiture building. After reading this ill-reasoned piece, City has no credibility on this subject.
All the things that make Rochester a better city- better mass transit, more small neighborhood businesses, more use of bikes and walking instead of driving-require population density. The way you get population density is to developments like this.
Also, that Kahn quote is just NIMBY dressed up in elegant words.
I don't agree with the article. Parking lots are terrible for urban areas and density is almost always a good thing. When density gets high enough in a desirable area the result is usually fewer cars, better transit, and great restaurants. Parking lots lead to sterile, unwalkable, neighborhoods with few services. Morgan's proposal looks fine and will be a fine addition to University Avenue and the city.
I agree with you Mike and JAM. It is because of efforts like this that will block Rochester from moving forward. This building is seriously ugly and people had the nerve to complain about Erie harbor apartments. In this case you would be replacing an ugly building with a beautiful one.
Fascinating chart correlating voting patterns and gun violence shows that Obama supporters, not the NRA, are overwhelmingly responsible for the latter.
What would George Eastman do?
Cities like Rochester are dying, and a major reason is the toxic, idiotic and un-American ideology that says economic growth can be made to follow the centrally-planned dictates of political pressure groups. If this kind of stupidity prevails, then the city's inevitable demise will be richly deserved.
It's hardly a coincidence that the only places prospering these days are those states and communities that embrace progress and welcome dynamic, creative private investment—without meddling busybodies, mountains of red tape or rapacious taxation.
You can listen to newspaper pundits and dead architects, or you can use your head and face cold, hard facts.
I too have been involved in historic preservation efforts, although not for as long as some including Mary Anna. But I find many of the arguments here to be nonsensical.
What's been proposed by Morgan is clearly an improvement over the house and parking lot that is there now. I see no green space now that won't be there after these apartments are built.
The 120 year old, beautiful Cataract Brewery building in the historic High Falls neighborhood was a Designated Building of Historic Value; supposedly protected from demolition. Yet, we had no problem demolishing that so it could be replaced with a HUGE parking lot forever altering the rim of the High Falls gorge.
Here we have the George Eastman House now saying it wants to build a sculpture garden and A PARKING LOT on this site? I really don't see how that would be better than adding residents to this section of University.
Also, I find it a bit ironic this article mentions Louis Kahn. The very first design by Morgan for this site looked like it could have been designed by Kahn himself. Personally, I don't believe his aesthetic or his teachings belong anywhere near this neighborhood.
I'm a former resident of the neighborhood who worked on neighborhood planning matters, including the original ARTWalk and the extension. I've spent hundreds of delightful hours at the George Eastman House, attended several meetings and community events at Monroe Voiture, and, of course, GreekFest. I've been heavily involved in historic preservation, community planning, and neighborhood revitalization. And with all that background, I find that this thorough and thoughtful piece is pretty much spot on.
Nice job, Mary Anna!
This development would be much better located at the corner of Atlantic & Fairmount, on the run down vacant lots controlled by the MUCCC. There, future residents would be much more likely to walk or bike to destinations, rather than the farther removed Monroe Voiture property. But that is the developer's call.
My big problem with this and other apartment proposals is the amount of parking "required" to make the proposal "viable." It seems as though our city is finally on the rebound, with more and more interest in development. Now would be a good time to start thinking about how to rid this city of its car-dependency. Parking lots are not our city's path to vibrancy. If we cannot improve our prospects for car-free living, our current rebound will be very short-lived. This means continuing the City's push for better walking and bicycling, but also incentivizing active first-floor uses, expanding car-sharing opportunities (ZipCar), starting a bike-sharing program, and working with RGRTA on more and better transit options (i.e., increased bus frequency, Bus Rapid Transit, Streetcar, and yes, even light rail). It will also require smarter land use planning on the regional level to discourage Victor-style sprawl and instead, build more compact communities that have a fighting chance at being transit-supportive.
I heartily support any/every effort to get more people out of vehicles and onto their feet/bikes. I do my darndest to bike to work as often as possible. It's good exercise, as well as giving me time to get me head in the right place.
Anybody who's got eyes and has been paying attention is aware of our growing obesity problem. This would help with that also.
I wonder how long Richards and the city council have been sitting on this problem? A cynic might suggest that they’ve known for years and could have corrected it for far less but that repairs were repeatedly deferred in order to avoid negatively impacting past city budgets until it couldn’t be hidden any longer. Perhaps City can ask the mayor’s office for details?
Funny when j.a.m. accuses anybody about - get this - misrepresenting anything; this hours after characterizing the Neighborhood of the Arts as a "rotting urban wasteland."
@Nathan: I live there, so I'm well familiar (and btw would be thrilled not to have to drive out to the suburbs to get to Wal-Mart). The point is that, when it comes to economic need or viability, a rational person would trust the investor risking his own capital before the assorted cranks, naysayers and ax-grinders. You can go on about "aesthetics" and "development at any cost," but you ought to be terrified of ending up another failed city.
@Troll: You completely misrepresented my earlier comment, whose meaning was plain enough and I won't belabor.
@Nathan, funny how in a mere two days j.a.m. can go from calling Neighborhood of the Arts "downright bucolic" to a "rotting urban wasteland." "Rotting urban wasteland" - Really? This is a great area, one that has steadily improved in the past generation, thanks in part to folks like NOTA. We've seen the real urban blight caused by some developers who managed to get the last word. By contrast, neighborhood associations in our city have been the real life-blood and glue. So thanks, Nathan, for expressing this so well.
This is exactly like what I was looking for when I still lived in this neighborhood. As part of the young professional demographic the city so desperately wants to retain, I was tired of the endless succession of dumpy absentee-landlord college student apartments around East/Park/Monroe. Anything that was in even halfway decent shape either had insane rents or was snatched up immediately. The neighborhood could use more higher income young tenants. Don't hate on renters - these are the people with well-paying jobs! Shame on the Eastman House for offering up yet another parking lot as the only viable alternative.
@j.a.m.: I am heavily vested in the city. I'm not sure you know this area very well. It is one of the few sections of Rochester that is not on the welfare dole. This particular development is not an improvement for the immediate area. What we do see, is a giant footprint that it will reduce our property values and increase apartment inventory (which will reduce rents and likely make the overall neighborhood less desirable). As I said before, in a region and city that is seeing zero population growth, a ton of new living spaces are coming online in the next few years, this development will only canabalize other renters and help to decrease the value of those other new developments and existing rental prices in the neighborhood. There is value in preserving the aesthetics and livability of an area. Development at any cost is not worthwhile. Why not invite wal-mart to build on this property adjacent to the Eastman House. I know of neighborhoods in Henrietta fighting rezoning near RIT to preserve their own property values while Henreitta has a chance to increase its tax base if it rezones.
@Nathan: If somebody thinks this development would create greater value at another site, they're perfectly free to put their money where their mouth is. Otherwise, that decision belongs to those who are in fact putting their own resources at risk to improve the city.
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