A place to discuss waterfalls. Including the parks that house them and the hikes to get to them.
Discuss Rochester's High Falls and the surrounding area here.
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/app ... /701170389
Let offices, housing fill High Falls, city told
Report suggests giving up on subsidized entertainment area
(January 17, 2007) — Mayor Robert Duffy says the city must face "the stark reality" that the future of the historic High Falls District might not be as an entertainment district.
Duffy's comment came in response to a consultant report, released Tuesday, that recommends city officials abandon a decadelong push to turn High Falls into an entertainment quarter and instead let private investors continue to steer development toward housing and office space.
According to the report, more than $41 million in taxpayer money has gone into High Falls since 1992. That total — from city, state and federal sources — is not much more than the private investment in office, residential, restaurant and retail development during the same period.
"The city has invested a lot of money in High Falls going back years," the mayor said. "I believe it's time to look at the stark reality that the future of High Falls may not be as an entertainment destination."
In its report, the Center for Governmental Research concluded that the city should sell off the buildings it owns, halt its operating subsidies and clean up public spaces it has allowed to languish.
No private property remains available for renovation or redevelopment, the report says — thus turning the focus to the city and Rochester Gas and Electric-controlled land and buildings. The city owns the Center at High Falls/Brown's Race Market complex. RG&E owns the land below the falls, the Beebee plant and other, smaller buildings.
The consultant suggested that the city look into breaking its contract with Cordish Co. of Baltimore, which manages the city property that is home to businesses such as Tiki Bob's Cantina and McFadden's bar. The contract runs through June 2008. One issue that likely will play a significant role in any outcome is a pending state decision on Tiki Bob's liquor license. The same company owns both bars.
In the future, niche retail shops and restaurants would primarily serve people who live and work in the district.
Mimi Tilton and her brother, Peter Freund, are spending about $1 million to renovate the four-story Perry Building into office and loft apartments and expect to welcome their first new tenant in May. Looking beyond her property, Tilton said the RG&E property "is screaming for attention," and more housing options are needed.
A spokesman said RG&E had not seen the report and declined comment.
David Luxenberg, an investor in the High Falls Button Factory building, said it's important to look at restaurants and services, too.
"(But) it needs to be re-branded in everybody's mind as the High Falls historic district, which allows it to develop naturally as an office and residential neighborhood," he said.
Creating a housing and office district was the directive from an initial city-commissioned financial and market study in 1990. R. Carlos Carballada, the city's commissioner for economic development, said that despite the city pushing in another direction, "the market has sort of evolved itself."
The report praises the city for preserving and improving the district, but it notes that public areas have been neglected as officials sought to limit ongoing subsidies. Trash and debris litter the waterwheel and streets, kiosks are outdated, and information panels are in disrepair.
"Neither the laser show nor the interpretive museum have undergone any significant updating since they were opened in 1992," the report states.
Duffy points to the lack of housing options as the largest impediment for High Falls, while Carballada adds poor marketing. According to the report, marketing — largely the responsibility of Cordish — has become venue-driven rather than district-driven and often failed to link with nearby events at Frontier Field and elsewhere.
Final report here: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/ass ... 353117.PDF
Last edited by Matt on Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Through it would be nice to have development on the RGE land... (apartments down there would be nice), I like a lot of the establishments that are currently there. The museum is a cassly touch too.
Jimmy Macs is awesome and I hope they can survive this. Please eat there if you can.
Jimmy Mac's will be fine, that's not just located in Rochester. They will open elsewhere if thrown out.
However, it's extremely sad that the two high-value property areas in the city of Rochester have failed (also Charlotte area) commercially. They both need to be Empire Zoned if not already and when you add residential property, you can really build up on commercial development, as long as everything is easily accessible.
They also screwed the area by charging for parking and not fully developing the area for entertainment. There are more office-companies than bars, club, eateries. They should as many shops as restaraunts. make it a commerce tax-center while giving people a reason to be there during the day. If people come for food, they can shop, if they come for shopping, they stay for food.
The bar scene is for night time.
Convince the Genesee Brewery to do some tours.
Demolish the defunct RGE plant and put something there.
Open up the property in the gorge as a park.
Get a family activity there. In the East side there is a small parkw ith nothing but a few benches. Convert it to mini-golf for the families to have a reason to come down there.
Mini-golf is actually quite defunct itself right now. Remember the mini golf at Charlotte? I think that I only remember one that is open nowadays around this area.
Agree with the Genesee brewery tours. Many breweries have really taken advantage of the local aspect of breweries, but certainly not in Rochester. Beerflies, or people that travel to taste local beers, can't find a stable place to go around here due to the closing of the HF Brewery and Bru, let alone the closed doors of the Genesee brewery. Perhaps that might increase their national popularity as well.
It has always been a mystery as to why Rochester likes to treat that RGE plant like a gemstone. It's junk and no one cares about an old power plant. With that out of the way, you can open up a lot of area to the park idea at the base of High Falls and leave a little area for residential development in its place.
They really need to build both sides of that gorge. It seems extremely lop-sided and it's basically pointless to cross the Pont de Rennes. Some of the industrial development needs to be moved to make way for commerce and moderately priced housing. If you make it low-cost, you'll lower the property value around there.
And their current concert area, barely holds any large audience. Work on that.
High Falls housing gets boost
Urban League, Kodak envision 80-unit project including offices, shops
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/app ... /701250348
(January 25, 2007) — If housing is the new direction for Rochester's High Falls District, it's about to take a big step forward today with the planned announcement of an 80-unit housing and commercial development costing roughly $17 million.
The project — offering a mix of apartments as well as two- and three-story townhouse-style units — would rise on a Kodak parking lot on the east side of State Street between Platt and Factory streets. Construction could begin later this year and be completed in 2009, said City Councilman Bill Pritchard.
"This could be launching the rebirth of High Falls," said Pritchard, chairman of the council's Economic Development and Center City Committee.
Eastman Kodak Co. and the Urban League of Rochester have been working on the project for five years, said Kodak spokesman David Lanzillo. Kodak will donate the lot, currently used for visitor parking. Funding will come from multiple sources, including the city and state.
Rochester Urban League President and CEO William Clark declined to comment on the proposal Wednesday night, saying details still were being finalized in preparation for today's announcement.
Mayor Robert Duffy praised the proposal, meanwhile, saying it promised to have a substantial impact on the High Falls area and downtown.
"From what I have seen and heard, it's a very exciting opportunity for all of us," the mayor said. "The future of our city is in quality, affordable housing."
Housing will be priced for entry-level professionals earning $50,000 or less, officials said. The specific breakdown of housing types and projected rents and the space set aside for office and retail uses were not immediately available.
Earlier this month, the city released a report recommending that High Falls be repositioned as a place to live and work, rather than an entertainment destination. More than $41 million in taxpayer money has been spent on the district since 1992, much of that to steer the area toward entertainment uses. But a strong, largely pre-existing office component has held its ground, and renovations of individual properties have begun increasing the housing stock on a smaller scale.
The Urban League development would be smaller than the $20 million, 125-unit Corn Hill Landing, which opened in 2005 on the southern edge of downtown. Corn Hill Landing is the largest housing and commercial development undertaken downtown in recent years.
Last week, officials announced a $25 million, 120-unit housing development planned for South Plymouth Avenue near Barton Street on the west bank of the Genesee River. That project, called Riverview Apartments, is aimed at University of Rochester students and could be open in time for the 2008-09 school year.
Living the 'High' life downtown
Projects to bring about 90 units to Falls district
(January 26, 2007) — Local dignitaries celebrated the unveiling of designs for The Mills at High Falls Thursday, then left the news conference and walked past two other properties that are being redeveloped for housing in the district.
For an area that has only a handful of apartments, the prospect of more than 90 new units in the next few years is dramatic.
The Mills — at $17 million and 80 units — is by far the biggest. Construction should begin this fall and be completed in the spring of 2009.
Renovations of the other two buildings, the Parry Machine Building and the neighboring Parazin Building, both on Mill Street, will add at least a dozen more lofts and $2.5 million more in investment.
But that is only scratching the surface of downtown-area housing development, said Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president of the Rochester Downtown Development Corp.
The downtown area currently holds about 2,400 housing units with 210 or more under development.
"Downtown has now become a funnel point for suburbanites moving back into the city," Zimmer-Meyer said. "We're so excited we can hardly stand it."
The Mills is a partnership of Eastman Kodak Co. and the Urban League of Rochester. Kodak donated the 1.3-acre property, which has served as its visitors parking lot on the east side of State Street between Platt and Factory streets. The Urban League's economic development arm will develop and manage the property, using any profit to help support the nonprofit group's various community programs.
Plans show an L-shaped, three-story apartment building fronting State and Platt streets, offering 48 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom flats. A mix of 18 two- and three-story townhouse-style units front Mill and Factory streets. Rents would range between $700 and $1,200.
The interior of the block would include a private courtyard for residents and surface parking, adding to underground parking for a total of 140 spaces.
Street-level commercial space along Platt Street could become several shops or be leased to a single business. The idea, said project architect Roger Brown, is to replicate the trendy, revitalized Gibbs Street on the East End. Brown was the architect on Corn Hill Landing.
He said The Mills' design is meant to reflect the warehouse-style, urban feel of the Button Factory building to the south as well as the turn-of-the-century buildings just to the north. Designs unveiled Thursday included a concept for revitalizing that existing commercial block to the north. Most or all of that block also is owned by Kodak. No further details were released, however. Kodak spokesman John Richardson said only, "We're not finished yet."
Getting The Mills financing and expenses to line up has been challenging enough, officials said. Richardson said he first got involved in the project about five years ago when then-Kodak CEO Dan Carp asked him to "do something" with the visitors parking lot. Not long after, Richardson said, he met his friend Sal LaBella for lunch and brought up his challenge.
"This is across from Kodak's world headquarters," he recalled thinking. "This has to be good."
LaBella, he said, barely hesitated before sketching a housing plan for the block very similar to what is proposed now, even though he was not involved in the project. LaBella is president of the LaBella Associates architecture and engineering firm. He said Richardson's predecessor had come to him as well, about three to five years earlier, and he already had a file developing.
"When we met with John I said, 'Yeah, I've got something I have to show you,'" LaBella said.
It's lights out for Tiki Bob's
McFadden's also closing after the state cancels liquor license
(January 27, 2007) — While the High Falls District will soon gain more housing, it is about to lose much of its nightlife.
The state Liquor Authority this week decided to cancel the license for Tiki Bob's Cantina, prompting owners to also shut down the adjoining McFadden's tavern.
"This weekend will be the last weekend that both will be open," said Matt McNeil, who recently took over managing both establishments.
The state also imposed a $12,000 civil penalty on Tiki Bob's, citing multiple underage drinking and other infractions dating from 2005-06.
Closing of the two clubs comes on the heels of Saddle Ridge's abrupt shutdown in November and one day after officials unveiled designs for The Mills at High Falls. The 80-unit housing and commercial development, to begin construction this fall, would further the city's interest in repositioning High Falls as a place to live and work but struck a blow at what today is an office park with a struggling entertainment district.
"You definitely want that block filled because it's most visible," Tim Knab, president of the High Falls Business Association, said of the city's Brown's Race property that houses the two clubs.
"But we have a nice mix going on right now. I really don't see them being empty for that long."
The clubs' closure places greater pressure on a city pact with The Cordish Co. of Baltimore, which manages the property for the city.
"We've had some ongoing discussions with Cordish about our dissatisfaction with these properties ... based on the number of times these people (Tiki Bob's) kept getting in trouble," said Thomas Richards, the city's corporation counsel.
The city's five-year, $2.35 million contract with Cordish ends in June 2008. Cordish could not be reached for comment.
"We now clearly need to reassess where we are," Richards said. "The consequence of not having the property occupied is what we will be talking about."
High Falls property status in question
Cordish Co. says lease is over, appears to catch city off guard
(January 30, 2007) — The future of a High Falls property hit with two bar closings over the weekend was further clouded Monday when the landlord announced it had terminated its lease.
What that means for The Cordish Co. management firm, the city and the Center at High Falls property is unclear.
The announcement seemingly caught the city off guard, though Cordish presented it as a joint decision.
"Considering the city's stated desire to move in a new direction in High Falls, we and the city have voluntarily agreed to mutually terminate our overall lease," the statement read.
The new direction was in reference to a city-commissioned report that recommended the focus of High Falls change from an entertainment district to a place to live and work. Cordish, a Baltimore-based developer with a national reputation, said the termination agreement was reached after the city received the report in late 2006.
Charles Reaves, the city's commissioner for recreation and youth services, said there have been informal talks about possibly terminating the lease but that Cordish remains responsible for the center.
"We need to sit down with them and have a face-to-face talk," Reaves said. "Nothing has been put in writing. Nothing has been said officially."
Cordish cast the weekend closings of Tiki Bob's Cantina and McFadden's restaurant and bar as voluntary decisions by the tenants, and "mutually agreed by the city and Cordish" given the stated residential and office focus.
Cordish representative Jonathan Cordish said in an e-mail that those decisions were made in advance of the state canceling Tiki Bob's liquor license because of underage drinking and other infractions.
The city signed Cordish to manage the High Falls site in 2003. Cordish then renovated the center and opened it fully leased in June 2003. The city's five-year, $2.35 million contract with Cordish was scheduled to end in June 2008.
In its statement, Cordish said the property has remained fully leased. "Nonetheless, Zed Smith, Director of Asset Management for Cordish, stated: 'We understand and are sympathetic to the new direction the City of Rochester is taking regarding the High Falls area. We are pleased that the Center stayed occupied and viable throughout our management.'"
Jennifer Moran owns Triphammer Grill, the remaining retail business at the center. She said the city contacted her Monday and set up a meeting about the property for today. She was unaware of any changes in management, and added that there was no intention to close Triphammer after 14 years at the location.
City, Cordish call it quits
Mayor Robert Duffy confirmed Tuesday that the city and The Cordish Co. are parting ways in High Falls, and the two sides will meet soon to negotiate a resolution. Cordish has nearly 18 months remaining on a $2.35 million, five-year lease to operate the city-owned Center at High Falls as an entertainment destination.
Cordish announced the split Monday, catching the city off guard.
Duffy said it is a mutual dissolution.
Cordish cited the city's new housing and office focus for High Falls as the reason for the split.
Duffy also noted that two clubs at the center closed this past weekend.
The Center at High Falls and Triphammer Grill will remain open, Duffy said.
Changes are Brewing at High Falls
http://www.13wham.com/mediacenter/local ... wokr13.com
Kyle Clark (Rochester, N.Y.) - The first new ingredient for change at High Falls Brewery is a contract with Seagram’s. The deal is expected to bring 100 new jobs to the plant on the Genesee.
Then, there’s the new CEO, Norm Snyder. He’s a beverage industry vet who isn't shy about saying he loves beer.
The brewing operation at High Falls nearly went dry in 2000.
"There have been times when I've wondered if we'd be able to slug it out and persevere," said brewing chairman Tom Hubbard.
Now, seven years later, High Falls is gaining financial footing and Hubbard has found a successor in new CEO Norm Snyder.
Snyder is an industry vet, a founder of the Sobe Beverage line, who hopes to add turning around High Falls to his resume.
Snyder said, "We've got a plan and we're going to dig ourselves out of this."
It means the huge plant that's half empty making its own brands needs to bring in others. Genny's been its stock and trade for a long time, but to keep the business profitable, it's going to take imports like Steinlager from New Zealand and contract brews like Mike's Hard Lemonade to keep High Falls growing.
A big contract announced Friday will have Seagram’s Coolers rolling off the line and is expected to bring in nearly 100 new jobs. Even then, the facility will only be at 65 percent capacity. An optimist might say the beer glass is half-full.
"Obviously there've been some precarious times, we can't deny that, but I think that we've bottomed out and we're on our way back up," Snyder said.
He's actively chasing new imports to add to High Falls' portfolio. That means making different international beers easily available.
He's also looking to dump millions into capital improvements at the plant.
He said upgrades will be noticeable to people cracking one open at home; better technology can mean better taste and longer shelf life
A week or so ago I went down to high falls to eat at Jimmy Mac's. The housing development is lookign really nice. I have some high hopes for it.
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Stantec Plans Move to High Falls
http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/ ... fz8TA.cspx
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I'll be in Rochester the next few days, staying at the Radisson, and was wondering if it would be worth a walk to these falls. Easy to walk there? Photo opportunities? TIA.