Mary Anna, might your opinion on this project have something to do with the fact that you live near the East Avenue Preservation District? Given your lack of interest in saving the Cataract Building, I find it hard to believe that your viewpoint is based on your concern for preservation.
"While this project isn't appropriate for the East Avenue Preservation District, it could be a real boon to other areas." I think what you're really trying to say is that you don't want apartment dwellers moving into your neighborhood. This provincial attitude is a big part of what prevents Rochester from reaching its full potential. You should consider thinking of Rochester as a city, not as a collection of preservation districts.
By the way, I own a house in the East Avenue Preservation District, and I welcome this potential new addition to our neighborhood. I'm not sure where you are getting your data (I suspect you don't have any) on "traffic problems and parking problems", but a good city planner will tell you that we have a long way to go before reaching our "apartment saturation point." If you care about the future of Rochester, you should rethink your opinion. We should encourage the approval of this project, which will bring vibrancy to our neighborhood and to the CITY of Rochester.
I agree with not having an apartment complex built in t he spot proposed.
I have a better idea. Instead of building something new, Let Morgan take the Savannah complex next to Manhattan Square Park and turn it into high range apartments / condos. There are already 126 units there within walking distance of the East End. The Section 8 housing there does no good as all of the jobs downtown have dried up and moved to the Burbs thereby defeating the purpose of having low income people live there. That should be step 1 in bringing people with money back downtown and it also helps to increase momentum on the gentrification that has already started. The restaurants and bars will follow.
Mary Anna, I find your argument against the addition of density in NOTA unfounded. Density gives vibrancy. Also with increasing density and walk-ability the use of automobiles inherently decreases. Furthermore, the parking added by this building is self-contained. While I disagree with your density sentiments I absolutely agree with the notion that the Voiture Building should not be torn down. Hanlon Architects should try to be a bit more creative in the inclusion and rehabilitation of this building into design of the site. I also would stress that the preservation board be pointed in their criticism and recommendations,as this project demands a significant level of care and detail. Bring on the density and the main building, but save the Voiture Building!
As a further point of contention, where was the lengthy and supporting article for the Cataract Building. Why be so vehement for the opposition of the demolition of a relatively non-descript tudor revival, but yet be quiet and even supporting of the demolition of a significantly sited and unique landmark that was important not only to local cultural heritage, but also national brewery architecture as a whole. If you and or CITY are going to battle for the good of preservation, there is much needed reassessment of your values.
"At what point does the density become too much?"
Walkscore.com gives 900 East Ave a score of 84. Pretty good. I moved here from DC where my place had a walk score of 94 so there is plenty of room to go.
"Has this part of the city's southeast area reached its apartment saturation point? "
There is actually a really easy way to tell when a neighborhood has reached its apartment saturation point. When people no longer want to pay $1500 a month to live in an apartment in the neighborhood and prices start falling because supply has soaked up the demand. Erie Harbor is charging high rents. Hickory Place is charging high rents. People clearly want to live in the East Ave area because rents are high. Adding more housing in that area will help more people live there and it will bring even more amenities to the area.
"It is encouraging that Morgan is willing to invest in the city. But the city has other properties that could be developed." Yes. Perhaps Morgan should build some luxury apartments on Wilkins St. However I think that street may have already reached its luxury apartment saturation point.
There are NIMBYs in every neighborhood. Every project will have some reason to be shot down because nothing should ever change because change is baaaad. I see opposition to this by neighborhood groups as complete NIMBYism. "I got mine, screw everyone else." And yes, ParkResident, it's the same self-centeredness as in Pittsford with the Mark IV project.
Mary Anna Fowler writes a well-researched, thorough, balanced presention of this issue. Then she has the courage to draw a conclusion and state her OPPOSITION to this proposal. I live here, I've been to the meetings and full discussions about this development, and I agree with her. The majority of resisdents here are opposed
to thsis proposal becasue a Preservation District has buildings and an atmsophere that are supposed to be
preserved--the Morgan building isn't right for thjis location. It would be fine in the new College Town, or th enew Midtown, etc. That doesn't mean residents don't want appropraite change. This was orinally all single and double houses, so six new town houses or condos would presrebve the characterr of the mebeighborhood--and
Park and East Ave., NOTA, ABC Streets, Upper Monroe, etc. are NEIGHBORHOODS, not districts or urban centers. They all have been brough back to life proimariily by normal working people, not developers, who
bought neglected old houses and fixed themn up with hard wirk and their oown money. It's the historic houses and atmsohere that draws people--not 102 unit commercial apartment buildings. The Voiture building was built as a small mansion by the same architect who designed Oak Hill Country Club. The wife was a descendent of Nathaniel Rochester. The additions added to the front of the huse by the veterans who bought it in 1941 are ugly, but the house isn't, it's not inn riuins, or gutted by fire--it can easily be restored like most every building here has been. The Voiture group, however, doesn't have the money to pay fror a new roodf, kitchen, bar room and other repairs. Demolishing the house and ruining the beauty of GEH and the historic charcater of this
area is not necessaruy or acceptable in a real Preservation District. The Morgans can build theitr apartments somewhere else; GEH and the Greek Orthodox Church are willing to pay for restoration, maintenasce, and at least 20 years or more of their full use: other developers are also interseted in working with the property.
I don't know whether this apartment looks good across the street from the Gleason Works or not. I don't know if its a good idea or not. My neighbors don't like it so I'll go along with that.
Me and a lot of other neighbors would definitely prefer to see something go up in the empty parking lot between Anderson and Atlantic. But we're not developers. Maybe we'll get frustrated enough and develop it ourselves.
On the other hand, the high rise on the corner of Goodman and University is totally incongruent and we don't care. It's a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. It keeps the corner store open and I want that corner store there when I need it.
One thing for certain - density isn't a reason to oppose this. My folks live in high rises in Manhattan, which, by all accounts, seems to be surviving the density quite well.
@Parkresident "but the neighborhood surrounding Starry Nites, while up and coming, is still pretty dicey (wouldn't want my daughter walking around there at night)."
Well, my daughters have grown up in this neighborhood and one thing is for certain - I wouldn't allow my daughters to walk around at night on Park Avenue either.
What I see is a fairly good-looking apartment complex being built on an almost nasty site across from the Gleason Works. How is that a bad thing? That the George Eastman House would prefer to have ownership of the site, but has clearly been unwilling to deal honestly with the folks who own it, well, huh, too bad. Right now, if you are visiting the GEH grounds, the view is "impacted" by the unsightly lot on University.
Clarification: low income actual houses, not apartments. Even better to help them into the middle class, though.
Remember the bust "low income housing" has been? How many cities in the 60s and 70s this flawed concept wrecked? This was one of the biggest flaws of late-60s - early 90s era liberalism, an era that has thankfully passed. It's a great thing cities got smart and started to encourage high-income housing. We need to continue to build affordable housing for low income families, and that, like high income housing has its limits, too. It seems on this immediate subject, 100 units awfully high, and zero units awfully low. MUST it be this all-or-nothing?
Written it on another story, will write it again: We don't need another high-end apartment complex in the city. How many well-to-do Mendonites and Brightonites do people think need a pied-a-terre in the city? Why not build affordable housing for the masses of poor people in the city?
After talking with a collegue, I think the most important consideration should be the George Eastman House. I read on RochesterSubway Jackie's comments about it being Rochester's own White House and I agree. Everything in the immediate area surrounding the GEH should be subject to the museum's enhancement. Yes, I understand this is undemocratic/uncapitalistic, but I think GEH is an asset that is much to valuable that it should take over the American Legion's plot. Too bad GEH dropped the ball on this. I hope the American Legion can forgive the GEH and work something out. Who knows, perhaps in several years the GEH could build a massive new Exhibit wing, drawing visitors from around the world especially those passionaite about photography and film.
OK, so we turn down the Morgan Management proposal. Then what? More years of looking at a large expanse of cracked asphalt and a decaying Tudor? More years listening to how the Eastman House blew their opportunity? More years of conflict between economic reality and the striving for an unobtainable perfect architectural and cultural use for the property?
When Lincoln was looking for a new general to lead the Union armies his critics told him to pick anybody. Lincoln replied, "Anybody will do for you, but not for me. I must have somebody”. The same philosophy applies to the Monroe Voiture property. We can not afford to wait for that perfect “anybody”, we must have “somebody.”
@Mrs Towler: I'll leave that between you and your conscience. All I can tell from the piece is that you're carrying GEH's water on this one, because, as others pointed out, your arguments are nonsensical. Example:
"At what point does the density become too much? Has this part of the city's southeast area reached its apartment saturation point? Is it time to cap the expansion of apartments in that neighborhood, letting them spread to other areas?"
Apartment saturation point? What does that mean? Do you have any statistics to quantify this elusive tipping point? Or, am I mistaken and the name of your newspaper is "Suburb"? Because it's suburbs that want single occupancy stand alone dwellings, And what neighborhood are we talking about, the whole SE side or NOTA? Because the only NOTA apartment expansion that I've seen is near Village Gate (unless you're counting the low-income high-rise between Goodman and Upton Place). There's no apartment expansion going on near this proposed development. That's what makes it a good location for an apartment complex, even if its neighbors like GEH and the churches don't like it.
To Rotten: Advertising has no impact on my decisions, but so that we're dealing in facts, not fiction: the George Eastman House is by no means a major advertiser for City. In fact, we donate a substantial amount of advertising to the museum's film program.
@ParkResident: "the neighborhood surrounding Starry Nites, while up and coming, is still pretty dicey (wouldn't want my daughter walking around there at night)"
You're throwing out accusations about people not knowing this location and then you write something like this? I've been in that neighborhood at night a number of times recently and would hardly call it "dicey". Are you talking about the existence of a gay bar? Does that alone make it dicey? Perhaps you should ask the patrons of Edibles, Good Luck, Lento, Espada, Salenas and Gatehouse, just to name 6 good restaurants within easy walking distance of this new complex, whether they feel that they're in a "dicey" neighborhood. And, btw, none of those restaurants involve a walk across the sacred grass of GEH.
NIMBYism is simply another word for resistance to any change by current residents, and an inability to imagine improvement over the current status quo. Your comments exemplify that. It's an "industrial area"? Yes, there's some industry there, obviously Gleason, but there's also a huge converted-to-retail set of warehouses one block east (where Rockventures is), and a number of other former industrial buildings that are now housing high-end retail (like Joe Bean) near Price Right. Who knows what other businesses will grow there after 102 new units of housing are added?
And as to the question of where the people to populate all the new city housing will come from, young professionals and retired empty nesters will move to the city from the suburbs no matter what the schools are like. This may be a zero-sum game, but the game is played across Monroe County, not just in the city, once the city has dense enough housing that spurs the development of more retail. Look at the South Wedge as an example - I'm sure it's far too "dicey" for you to enter, but dense housing and new apartments have led to more retail which leads to higher rent and higher housing prices, not collapse.
One more thing: there is nothing wrong with NIMBY. What do you think about the Village of Pittsford's fight against Mark IV's proposal to build apartments along the Canal!?! Second: Greater Rochester's transit situation WON'T change until gas prices are sky high or there is significant population growth. Since neither are likely for the foreseeable future, almost all people (except hipsters and true progressives) are going to keep their cars and shop, live, and work where they can drive and park freely. Third: without change in Rochester's schools, you are not going to see family's clamoring to live in the city. Fourth: See City's other article about apartment building in rochester, eventually, with so many apartments coming online, rents will decrease (without the population increase) and fringe areas (like NOTA and the Morgan location) are going to see deteriotation rather than gentrification. As Larry Glazer says in that article, apartment building in Rochester is a Zero-Sum game.
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.
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