posted by Wayne Goodman, Executive Director
If you haven’t noticed, the Rochester Free Academy, located at 13 South Fitzhugh Street in downtown Rochester, is transforming – and that transformation is welcomed, appreciated and long-awaited. According a marker near the Free Academy, the building was constructed in 1873. The building is a contributing structure in the City Hall Historic District and was designed by Rochester architect Andrew Jackson Warner, whose other accomplishments include the iconic Powers Building and the Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church. He was the father of prominent Rochester architect J. Foster Warner, whose selected works include the George Eastman House and Our Lady of Mercy High School. The Free Academy remains a significant component to the entire district. Its rehabilitation is already adding a “buzz” to a downtown that is seeing increased investment and is feeling a stronger embrace than it has in decades.
Vacant and deteriorating for well over a decade, the Free Academy’s rehabilitation and reuse not only represents the rebirth of an extraordinary piece of architecture, but it represents an appreciation for architecture and heritage. For some, the building’s rehabilitation signals a new optimistic era for downtown Rochester’s and the entire region. Perhaps most striking is the new roof. The copper valleys and the striking slate add an impressive element to the area. Compared to years past, the roof’s appearance represents the future – sleek and strong – through a historic building’s reuse.
New roof and copper flashing on the Free Academy.
Owner/real estate developer George Traikos has put together a unique development plan that includes a diverse investment portfolio. A unique and creative architectural plan, which utilized historic rehabilitation tax credits, was put together by architect Blake Held with consulting services provided by Bero Architecture, PLLC. The project is a prime example of how historic preservation’s benefits are multifaceted. The building is now ready for lease. A mixed-use development, the first floor is to be used for retail/commercial space and residential on the upper floors. Free Wifi will be available to tenants, as well as a fitness room – modern amenities inside a piece of history.
The Landmark Society of Western New York is excited about the future of this building and what it brings to Rochester and western New York. Our organization is appreciative to everyone who has made this project come to fruition.
Those interested in investigating tenant space may see more details by visiting the property’s listing, http://www.pyramidbrokerage.com/featured/rochester-area/academy-building-restoration/ The leasing contact is Mr. Michael Quinn, Pyramid Brokerage, (585) 248-9426, or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.