Transforming Buildings & Neighborhoods
Recent discussions about the fate of the 120 year-old brewhouse at 13 Cataract Street got us thinking. Those in favor of demolishing the building say it’s an eyesore, beyond repair, and a haven for crime. With peeling paint, missing windows, and holes in the roof, certainly the iconic building has seen better days. And yes, crime does occur around the building; that is not an issue to be taken lightly. But will demolishing the building solve this problem?
If we demolished every “eyesore” in Rochester, would we have solved all the City’s problems? Or might we end up tossing the proverbial baby out with the bath water? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of these former “eyesores” to show that almost any building can be rehabilitated, to demonstrate how this rehab can, in turn, transform a neighborhood, and to remind us all of opportunities that were almost lost.
Cataract Brewing Company Building
13 Cataract Street
Here’s the “eyesore” as it stands today:
This digital rendering, created by RochesterSubway, illustrates the potential “opportunity” that could be lost if the Cataract building is demolished:
Adam C. Wagner, often referred to as A. C. Wagner, was the architect and designer of more than 50 American breweries during his lifetime. Most significantly for the Rochester community, in 1890 he designed this impressive brewhouse for the Standard Brewing Company. Eventually the building would be named after one of only five Rochester breweries to survive Prohibition—the now defunct Cataract Brewing Company. At the time of this writing only two other A.C. Wagner brewhouses are still standing—Weisbrod & Hess Brewery in Philadelphia and Steigmaier Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The Cataract Brewhouse represents one of the last remaining pre-prohibition era brewing facilities in Rochester. Its future is now in question as the current property owner plans to demolish it for additional parking.
Tonight (Wednesday, April 4) at 8 PM at City Hall, a joint hearing of the City’s Preservation Board and Planning Commission will consider the application for landmark designation of 13 Cataract St.
Want to see more “eyesores” that have been turned into economic opportunities and assets for our neighborhoods and city? Visit our Success Stories page to see the full list.