Historic renovation of once-glamorous hotel in downtown Rochester set to begin
Renovation work should begin soon at the Executive Building on West Main Street, opposite the Monroe County Office Building.
Delayed for nearly a year, the project adds to new housing projects completed or planned on the west side of the Genesee River.
Plans are to renovate and restore the eight-story, largely vacant office building into 130 mostly market-rate apartments, with some affordable units. Office tenants, including the Public Defender’s Office, would remain. A restaurant and small grocery could be added to the historic building.
“Everybody's lined up, generally,” said Samuel Savarino, president and CEO of Buffalo-based developer Savarino Companies. “We're ready to go. I would say Oct. 1, or soon after, is a good date.”
Milos Vojvodic owns the building. He has rehabbed other historic properties in the Corn Hill neighborhood, and bought the downtown property for $2.95 million in 2018, after it had been on the market for quite some time.
The pandemic and time-consuming approvals for historic preservation and tax credits have slowed progress.
Work will start inside the building and move outside by early next year – restoring some of the old cornice atop the building and ripping away stucco at street level to expose an ornate, cast-iron storefront.
The goal is to complete the renovation by May 2024. Total costs are expected to top $40 million.
The building first opened in the late 1800s as the Powers Hotel. At the time, it was among Rochester’s largest and finest hotels, with its grand marble staircase and center atrium, four dining rooms and expansive banquet hall.
One of the partners on the original construction was a banker and entrepreneur named Daniel Powers, who years earlier had built the adjacent Powers Building. The Powers Block, as it is known, along with the county office building, were designed by Rochester's esteemed A.J. Warner architecture firm.
The hotel closed in the 1960s, having long lost its luster.
Its renovation adds to new housing plans on downtown’s west side, including a proposal for a new five-story, 160-unit affordable apartment building to be constructed a block away on the parking lot across the street from the City School District’s Central Office.