We’re having a fight over preserving an old brewery in Rochester. Preservation is a hard sell in this town. Even though the downtown core is getting more popular, there are still a lot of empty buildings and a lack of development. So when the local brewery (Genesee Beer) offered to build a visitors’ center on their grounds in a fairly desolate downtown-adjacent neighborhood, there was a lot of enthusiasm., even though they wanted to tear down an old brewhouse built in 1898. It didn’t matter that they had been given a $9 million package by taxpayers when the current owners bought the brewery, or that they building was designated as being of historical value (and therefore subject to a special city ordinance limiting development). The owners argue that their visitors’ center would fail without the extra parking provided by tearing down the building, even though there’s plenty of room to park across the street.
That’s all in the way of background to one of the best pieces of preservation advocacy I’ve seen in a long time, on a local blog called Rochester Subway:
Over the past two weeks we’ve reviewed at some local eyesores …or rather, opportunities, nearly lost. Those include the Flatiron Building,Station 55, Hoyt-Potter House, Lehigh Valley Railroad Station (Dinosaur Bar-B-Que), Parazin Building, Partners Building, and the Powers Building.
If you click on those links, you’ll find a great set of before and after stories of buildings that could have been torn down but instead became local landmarks. If you’re involved in some preservation advocacy in your part of the world, it’s well worth a look, because these fights tend to be over the future of one building taken out of context of the history of the town. It’s much easier to argue that tearing down a busted-up old building would be a huge loss when people imagine the loss of other places that are important to their daily lives.
Also, too: This will be my last post for a week and a half, since I’ll be traveling for Easter.