An Open Letter to the Genesee Brewing Company — Save 13 Cataract Street

The Genesee Brewing Company has proposed the re-development of and old packaging facility as a Genesee Brewery Visitor Center. Unfortunately they have hinged the project on the demolition of an adjacent structure, 13 Cataract Street. Because of the great historical value of this structure I started a petition to help influence the Genesee Brewing Company to save 13 Cataract Street from demolition. With demolition plans progressing and the final Zoning Board meeting on the subject scheduled for tomorrow, January 19 at 11:30am, I have delivered 1,091 signatures (the combination of online & handwritten signatures) to the Genesee Brewing Company via North American Breweries as well as KPS Capitol Partners, LP (the major investment firm behind North American Breweries), copying County Executive Maggie Brooks and the City of Rochester’s Mayors Office. Below is a copy of the letter which accompanied the petition signatures.

Dear Genesee Brewing Company, North American Breweries, Inc., KPS Capitol Partners, LP,

The Genesee Brewing Company has expressed the desire to construct a visitor center in an old packaging facility next to the Genesee Brewing Company campus. The addition of a visitor center would mark the first major community focused re-development in the eastern portion of High Falls. While many aspects of the project are positive — a potential for increased tourism, job creation, economic stimulation, and the continued High Falls development these benefits come at a cost to Rochester’s rich history. The proposed re-development plans hinge upon the demolition of 13 Cataract Street.

13 Cataract Street, once home to the Standard Brewing Co. and the Cataract Brewery, is one of Rochester’s last remaining pre-prohibition brewing facilities. The structure incorporates many architectural details no longer found in modern construction. Featuring an eccentrically styled roof, Romanesque arched & rose windows, ornamental corner towers, and a medieval personality, these details were once common in German Immigrant construction however few structures from this era have survived.

13 Cataract Street stands strong. It represents the hard work and dedication that made Rochester a great city. A unique history, that when coupled with Rochester’s desire to innovate, will set an example that history and progress can coexist. We are not against the proposed Genesee Brewing Company Visitor Center. We are against the destruction of 13 Cataract Street. Genesee Brewing Company; please amend your plans to embrace 13 Cataract Street as a centerpiece for future development rather than slate it for demolition.

(see attached pdf)

PS: The online petition, which is still active, can be found at:

Remember — regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s Zoning Board meeting — all is not lost until the final blow of the wrecking ball. Long live 13 Cataract Street!

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4 Responses to An Open Letter to the Genesee Brewing Company — Save 13 Cataract Street

  1. Tear it down,.. Let’s get something positive going.

    If the public can’t come up with the funds to save this, then tear it down!

    Put your money where your mouth is.

    • 1) A couple of parties did put their money where their mouth was.
      2) Something even more positive would be to reuse these historic buildings. Why tear down a cities character when it can be retrofitted for modern use?