Resume of Facade Improvement Studies

The following is a partial list, in chronological order, of recent facade improvement studies of nineteenth and early twentieth-century downtown commercial buildings in New York State.

Saranac Lake, Franklin County. In Saranac Lake Bero Architecture completed two projects: a study of improvements to the facades of buildings located along the village’s main commercial streets, and a study of the rear facades of nineteenth-century commercial buildings facing the Saranac River. The latter study was part of a comprehensive river corridor study that aimed to enhance the village’s quality of life and encourage tourism. The projects were funded by the New York State Council for the Arts. (1991 and 1997) Contact Mary Hotaling, President, Historic Saranac Lake, (518) 891-0971.

Rochester, Monroe County. The economic and physical condition of the Lyell Avenue corridor, one of the city’s major commercial arteries, has declined over the last forty years. Using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the City initiated the Lyell Avenue Redevelopment Project. In the first phase of the project, Bero Architecture was hired to identify and illustrate potential facade improvements that would improve the visual quality and economic viability of the area. The City offered to fund professional fees and fifty percent of the construction costs for business owners who wished to complete the proposed improvements. In the second phase of the project, Bero Architecture developed construction documents, assisted with bidding, and provided contract administration for four individual building renovations. (1995-1997) Contact Mike Coniff, Director, Lyell Ave Revitalization Committee, (585) 458-8893.

Geneva, Ontario County. The City wished to improve the visual environment along Routes 5 & 20 where the road borders the northern tip of Seneca Lake. Demolition of old industrial buildings in this area left the rear of a row of historic commercial buildings, fronting on the city’s main commercial street, exposed to view. Bero Architecture identified potential improvements to parking areas, loading areas, and facades so that Geneva would present a more attractive face to 5 & 20, important tourist routes through the Finger Lakes Region. (1997) Contact Sherri Geary, Director, Geneva Business Improvement District, (315)789-0102

Morrisville, Madison County. This small hamlet is bisected by Route 20. A widened roadway, increasing traffic volume, and truck traffic have contributed to the economic decline and erosion of the physical character of the hamlet’s central business district. As part of a comprehensive study addressing the entire length of Route 20 through the hamlet, Bero Architecture studied potential facade improvements that would restore important individual landmarks and bring back the visual quality of Morrisville’s main street. The study was used as a tool for negotiations between community representatives and NYSDOT regarding the pending reconstruction of Route 20 through the hamlet. (1997) Contact Carolyn Gerakopoulous, Morrisville Historic Preservation Commission, (315) 684-3533.

Hamilton, Madison County. Hamilton, a rural village and home of Colgate University, suffers from a deteriorating nineteenth-century downtown and a conflict between escalating though-town truck traffic and the historic downtown street configuration. As part of a comprehensive downtown plan financed by the University, the County, and the Village, Bero Architecture studied facades throughout the village’s central business district and suggested historically compatible improvements. Design fees were funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and the Preservation League of New York State, and Colgate University. The plan was prepared in anticipation of NYSDOT’s planned reconstruction of the main road through the business district. (1999) Contact Kate Lucey, The Partnership for Community Development, (315) 824-9055; see also their great web site: partnersatwork.org.

Parish, Oswego County. Proposed improvements to State Route 69, the main road through this small rural hamlet, triggered a local evaluation of the future of the community’s downtown. As part of the preparation for negotiations with DOT, the Town and Village of Parish, with funding support from the New York State Council for the Arts, commissioned a streetscape study. Bero Architecture studied four specific buildings, and defined and illustrated architectural principles to be applied to the design of a proposed new municipal building which will occupy one corner of the major intersection. (2001) Contact Dudley Breed, LA, (315) 445-2030.

Adams, Jefferson County. Our most recent facade improvement project, Bero Architecture is working with landscape architect Dudley Breed and the Tug Hill Commission to evaluate nineteen commercial buildings throughout the village. We visited the village, photographed and measured the selected building facades, surveyed their condition, and produced sketches of the existing conditions. Utilizing the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for Rehabilitation,” we prepared drawings showing suggested repairs and improvements to the selected facades. We will be presenting our work to the community on June 14, 2006. Contact Dudley Breed, LA, (315) 445-2030.

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