The Genesee Brewing Co. plans to re-evaluate the viability of proposed $2.6 million brew house following a decision by the city of Rochester’s preservation board to nominate an abandoned building on the site as a landmark designation.
“We are now in a position to evaluate if the Genesee Brew House is economically viable for us to continue to put resources and energy against,” said Richard Lozyniak, CEO of brewery parent North American Breweries Inc., in a statement Thursday.
“At this point, we are unsure if we can ever receive the necessary regulatory approvals to move this project forward. The time and resources needed to fight individuals takes us away from our core mission of growing the Genesee brewery, which creates jobs and opportunities for Rochester for years to come.”
North American Breweries wants to transform a century-old packaging center into a microbrewery, tasting area and casual restaurant. To do that, it said it would need to demolish two buildings that have been vacant for 25 years.
The preservation board, made up of seven private citizens, voted Wednesday to sponsor the nomination of property at 13 Cataract St. for landmark designation. If the board agrees to the designation, it will be considered by the city planning commission.
The brewery had its choice of three buildings to convert to a brew house. After making its decision, it put the two other buildings on the market and received virtually no interest, Lozyniak told the Rochester Business Journal last November.
Because the two buildings were structurally unsound, the decision was made to demolish them, Lozyniak said in November.
“We represent a brewery that hopes to create a world-class destination that would revitalize our neighborhood, attract people to downtown Rochester and capture the rich history of Genesee for generations to come,” he said Thursday.
“The Genesee Brew House project stands for local pride in our Genesee brewery, job creation and economic development that our community cannot stand to lose.”
The project is expected to create 10 jobs. The brewery employs some 600.
“The Genesee brewery followed the government process to get the Genesee Brew House project approved,” Lozyniak said. “Now, a very small group of people stand in the way of progress that this community wants and needs. We are asking for those who support us to have their voices heard.”
The project would result in a first-floor museum with brewery history and artifacts, with a 45-foot bar, sandwiches and pub-style food on the second floor, officials said. Indoor seating will accommodate as many as 80 visitors, with an outdoor deck and rooftop patio providing views of the High Falls area.
The brewery would pay for 95 percent of the project, Lozyniak said.
“Despite the delay, our long-time Rochester employees urge us to keep moving forward,” Lozyniak said. “They know that Rochester needs jobs, added tax revenue and community investment in order to sustain itself.”
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