Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Great American Architecture Vol. 1

Apologies for slacking off over the course of the weekend, I was beginning to clean out closets to recycle old papers/boxes/electronics.

Tia and I also saw two more condo units since my last entry, one a more traditional townhouse layout on University Ave. (on the 18/19 Route) and the other part of a converted school between Gregory and Hickory Streets. After viewing the Gregory Park Condos, we took a walk through the heart of the South Wedge Neighborhood and ate at the Tap and Mallet, a neighborhood pub with solid food (recommend Pork with Goat's Cheese, Garlic, and Thyme and an extensive beer list.

Across Cayuga Street from the pub is Weider's Hall, an incredible urban restoration project and appropriately the subject of today's newslink. Built in 1885, Weider's Hall is...

South Wedge Building Still Center of Activity
by Larry Seil, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Article Key Points:

  • Originally housed a grocery store on the first floor
  • 2nd floor contained meeting room and apartments
  • 3rd floor contained a popular early 20th century dance hall
  • Developer J.T. Trickey purchased in 1996. Resisted conversion to non-original uses
  • Over $100,000 invested so far with more to come

As an added bonus, the article includes a multimedia tour of Weider's Hall. I feel like this is an excellent spotlight on the slow reversion to city living that for the last ten years has attempted to combat over 50 years of counter-intuitive human behavior. Reading more of Kunstler's Home from Nowhere, I firmly believe that redensification, to coin a term first heard from The Third Coast, is inevitable when the suburban equation becomes too costly.

I think the telling line and also the most optimistic line in the article is Trickey's "I have a vision for the neighborhood, I'd like to make it a fun place for families to come to." What I will say from my urban waltz down Gregory, Hickory, and South Ave and our subsequent drive down Clinton, Goodman, and assorted side streets is that the Wedge is already becoming just that. Take for instance, our realtor, who was leaving us to go to Beale Street Cafe (excellent ribs at their Empire location!) on South at Gregory and then on later in the evening to the Historic German House for a Todd Rundgren concert. All of this on a Monday night in January!

As we walked, we noticed a new market getting ready to open across the street from Beale in the building which used to house the South Wedge Green Grocer (an organic food outlet). Another thing we noticed is that the mini marts on South don't have any retractable steel cages or iron work on windows. What this tells me is that the Wedge is already well on its way back.

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